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What cells are involved in the innate immune response? Explain their role.

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The innate immune system is a basic immune system that provides a generic response in a body to invading pathogens and disease-causing agents.  It does not have residual or long lasting effects, as does the adaptive immune system. Some of the cells that provide resistance to invading pathogens are:

  • white blood cells (WBC's)- white blood cells are able to manipulate and travel on their own, and are excellent in trapping debris, particles that are foreign in nature, and disease causing microorganisms.
  • mast cells. which release histamine and heparin, which dilates blood vessels.
  • phagocytes, which literally means "cell eaters."  These engage cells that are foreign in nature, engulf them, and digest them.
  • neutrophils, which have enzymes that kill or inhibit the growth of bacteria.
  • dendrite cells, important to antigen presentation.
  • natural killer cells (NK's), which destroy compromised cells within the host.

All these various types of cells provide an immediate response to invading foreign material which would otherwise result in rapid deterioration and death of an organism.



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