The subject of immunology belongs to the biological and medical sciences. The relationship between immunology and other areas of science is schematically depicted in Fig. 3.1. This scheme shows that contemporary immunology is a true interdisciplinary science. Modern immunology studies cellular and molecular reactions of the human and animal organism, which occur after foreign antigens have been recognized by the immune system. A complex of these reactions represents an immune response which can, as for as the organism is concerned, be useful, indifferent, or harmful. The specific defence (immunity) against infectious diseases is an example of an advantageous immune response, whereas the harmful type of immune response is represented, for example, by various allergic reactions (hypersensitivity). The immune response can be induced not only by foreign antigens, but also by self, antigenically altered cells and molecules that are subsequently recognized as foreign. Even in this latter case the reaction may by useful (immunity against tumours) or harmful (autoimmune diseases).
KeywordsCellular Immunity Antigen Receptor Foreign Antigen Antigen Determinant Immunocompetent Cell
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