Baumgarten, Alexander Department of Laboratory Medicine, School of Medicine, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.
Polley, Margaret J. Formerly, Department of Medicine, Cornell Medical Center, New York, New York.
Last reviewed:August 2018
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- Immune system
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The division of biological science dealing with the native or acquired response of complex living organisms to the intrusion of other organisms or foreign substances. The field of immunology is concerned with all aspects of the immune process in organisms. In general, the immune system allows the host organism to distinguish between self and nonself and to respond to a target (termed an antigen) [Fig. 1]. An immunological response is specific and can be genetically determined or learned, that is, developed as a consequence of exposure. Examples of immune responses are neutralization of toxic protein molecules, killing of infecting microorganisms, rejection of foreign tissue grafts, and memory by the protective effects of vaccination. See also: Acquired immunological tolerance; Antigen; Immunity; Immunologic cytotoxicity; Immunological ontogeny; Immunological phylogeny; Vaccination
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