Family Medicine pp 1029-1068 | Cite as

The Immunologic System

  • Robert D. Gillette
  • James V. Lustig
  • Lois A. Nelson

Abstract

Although the immune mechanism protects the host from a hostile environment by such means as destroying invading organisms and rejecting foreign cells and substances, it may also cause tissue damage and untoward symptoms in the host. Allergies are diseases that are mediated by such maladaptive immune responses. The word “allergy” (G. allos, other + ergon, work) was coined by vonPirquet early in the 20th century and denotes diseases in which exposure to foreign substances causes untoward signs and symptoms in susceptible subjects but has no significant effects in other people. Each of these conditions has its genesis in the ingestion, inhalation, injection, or absorption through the skin of a substance that is perceived by the body as foreign. The form of the maladaptive immune response varies from one allergic disease to another. Over time the scope of allergy and the work of allergists developed empirically to encompass the group of diseases to be considered in this section. Recent advances in immunology have led to a much wider conceptualization of the immune response and its consequences,1,2 but it is still clinically useful to group together diseases caused by immunologic hyperreactivity to exogenous antigens and to speak of them as “allergic.”

Keywords

Atopic Dermatitis Food Allergy Allergic Rhinitis Family Physician Allergic Disease 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert D. Gillette
  • James V. Lustig
  • Lois A. Nelson

There are no affiliations available

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