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Humoral Immune Response: Definition and Summary of Steps involved

Definition: Host defense mechanisms that are mediated by antibodies produced by plasma cells of B cells.
It protects against extracellular bacteria and foreign macromolecules.
Diagram: Steps in Humoral Immune Response
Step 1:
B cell activation=Antigen binding to Naïve B cell receptor
B cell possess B cell receptor or BCR with a single specificity. A naive B cell is the one which hasn't encountered an antigen before. When an epitope of an antigen binds to the B cell receptor, that particular B cell gets activated.
Step 2:
Clonal selection: Division of that activated B cell
This activated B cell is selected to divide forming many copies of that cell. That particular clone of B cell is selected to divide and is called as clonal selection.
Step 3:
Differentiation: Plasma cells and memory B cells
Later this B cells differentiate to form plasma cells or effecter cells and and memory B cells
Step 4:
Plasma cells produce antibodies that binds to the antigen and ensures it clearance from the system.
Memory B cells are meant for immunologic memory or secondary immune response. When the same antigen comes for the second time, these memory B cells will recognize it quickly and induce a heightened immune response. This will clear out the pathogen from the system soon.
There is one more pathway in humoral immune response which is mediated by T helper cells.

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