The immune system contains receptors for endorphins and neuropeptides. It travels through the entire body contacting every cell.
If the system recognizes cells, they leave them alone. If they do not recognize the cells, they attack, thereby defending the body against bacteria and virus-infected cells.
There are connections between the immune system and the central nervous system. The immune system responds to chemicals and secretes chemical messages.
The immune system has nerve cells that connect the brain to the spleen and other organs producing immune cells. Stress can affect the immune system.
Organs of the immune system are called lymphoid organs. These organs produce the white blood cells that mediate the immune system.
These white blood cells are called lymphocytes. Lymphocytes are produced in the bone marrow.
One particular set, the T-cells, spend time in the thymus where they mature and develop the ability to distinguish self from non-self.
They travel constantly through the body. A small number stand alert in the lymph nodes and spleen. These have specialized compartments for different kinds of immune system cells. Body organs all contain networks of nerve cells that allow the brain and central nervous system to influence immunity.
DIFFERENT KINDS OF IMMUNE SYSTEM CELLS
1. LYMPHOCYTES are small white blood cells that attack any potential threats to the body.
2. B-LYMPHOCYTES the B-cells were the first to be discovered. They produce circulating antibodies. Antibodies are tiny proteins that attach to bacteria, viruses and other foreign invaders (antigens). Each B lymphocyte produces only one kind of antibody. One attacks the cold another attacks bacteria in pneumonia.
3. T-LYMPHOCYTES are called T cells. They originate from the thymus gland. They do not produce antibodies but directly attack foreign invaders. There are different kinds of T cells, and each has different functions.
4. Cytoxic T Cells are killing cells attack only one kind of infected cell or agent such as cancer cells, viruses , etc. Natural Killer Cells (NK) constantly patrol the body
looking for dangerous foreign cells.
When they find a dangerous cell they attach and release toxic chemicals that destroy the invading cells by attacking cancer cells and bacteria.
5. Helper T Cells stimulate B lymphocytes to make antibodies.
6. Suppresser T cells these shut off helper T cells once enough antibodies are produced.
Communication between these cells occurs by interferons, interleukines and other chemical messengers that govern the immune system.
There should be a balance between helper and suppresser T cells. Acupuncture restores this balance.
The body’s way to defend against infections, cancers, viruses, and foreign substances is to identify, destroy, inactivate or eliminate them.
THERE ARE TWO SYSTEMS OF ACTION IN THE IMMUNE SYSTEM - BLOOD AND CELLULAR.
The blood system is controlled by the B lymphocytes that produce antibodies. Antibodies are proteins that defend against bacteria and viruses found in body fluids.
The cellular immune system responds against cancer cells and viruses that are inside the body’s cells. They are aided by T lymphocytes and macrophages whose job it is to surround and dissolve the invaders.
They are also aided by natural killer cells (NK) that defend against virus infected cells and cancer. An under active immune system is seen in AIDS.
An overactive immune system cannot distinguish between self and non-self and is at risk for allergies and autoimmune disease such as arthritis.
Immune dysfunction can contribute to the development and spread of cancer. Acupuncture can stimulate and balance the immune system.