Functions of The Immune System
The primary purpose of the immune system is to protect the body from a variety of harmful factors; this is done through a variety of various organs and tissues, ranging from the spleen and tonsils to bone marrow and white blood cells. Each component of the immune system plays a different role and functions differently, but the primary purpose remains the same.
Lymph nodes, for example, create and hold the various cells that work to fight infection, as well as the fluid that carries these cells to the parts of the body that need care. Evidence of the work of the lymphatic system can be seen in the swelling of lymph nodes when the body is fighting an illness. The spleen, a critical organ in the immune system, is responsible for moderating the amount of blood in the body, as well as disposing of damaged or old blood cells. White blood cells are contained in the spleen, and these are critical in the work of the immune system as a whole. These essential cells are created by the bone marrow; some bone marrow, such as what is found in the hip and thigh bones, is made up of stem cells, which are invaluable in the treatment of a host of illnesses.
There are two types of lymphocytes that are also found in the immune system:
- B-cells - Responsible for the creation of antibodies that work to remove bacteria and other toxins
- T-cells - Responsible in the destruction of cancerous or infected cells throughout the body.
T-cells are also broken down into two additional categories: killer cells, which destroy the infected cells in the body, and helper cells, which identify which immune response is necessary. T-cells mature in the thymus, an often forgotten element of the immune system. Finally, and arguably most importantly, leukocytes are the white blood cells that fight disease. Without these, the body would be unable to fight infection and the immune system would be unable to serve its primary purpose.