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Immunology Glossary Terms

Immunology: (“immunis” Latin=’exempt’): Brach of biomedical science that deals with the study of all aspects of immune system in all organisms.

Immune system: refers to the collection of mechanisms involving cells, tissues and organs that protects organisms against disease by identifying and killing pathogens and tumour cells.

Immunity to the state or quality of being resistant (immune) from infectious disease, either by virtue of previous exposure (adaptive immunity) or as an inherent trait (innate immunity).

Immunization: the process of producing a state of immunity in a subject.

Immunogen: A substance capable of eliciting an immune response. All immunogens are antigens, but some antigens are not immunogens (e.g., haptens).

Immunogenicity: The capacity of a substance to induce an immune response under a given set of conditions.

Innate immunity/inborn/genetic/heritable: Nonspecific host defences that exist prior to exposure to an antigen and involve anatomic, physiologic, endocytic and phagocytic and inflammatory mechanisms.

Adaptive immunity/acquired/specific: Host defences that are mediated by B and T cells following exposure to antigen and that exhibit specificity, diversity, memory and self/non-self-recognition.

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