The Immune system


The immune system is a totalitarian state, it keeps foreign bodies out and if any of it’s citizen misbehave it kicks them out as well. It is the body's border patrol and anything entering the bloodstream is scrutinised by this border patrol. The immune system is very complex and involves various parts of the body includes lymph nodes, tonsils, thymus, spleen and even bone marrow to name a few.

The immune system has two parts the innate and the adaptive and anything that provokes an immune response is known as an antigen.


The innate system has evolved over millions of years and it’s the first responder. For instance, if we sustain a cut the innate system will cause an inflammatory response protecting its borders. Its job is to trap and encircle an injury. Then along comes the white blood cells the immune systems transport and these clean the problem up, removing dead tissue and any foreign bodies. It’s also the job of the innate immune system to dampen the effect of this inflammation. A macrophage is a large type of white blood cell that is part of the innate immune system and along with neutrophils cleans (eats) dead cells and fights bacteria without the need to identify them. To help white blood cells to kill foreign invaders they have weapons such as elaborate toxic chemicals, they even punch holes in the foreign bodies membranes.


Let's now take this to the next level. If there is an antigen that is more difficult to get rid of like a virus. The adaptive part of the immune system takes over. This system is personal and it makes antibodies. White blood cells (leukocytes) are also a major part of the immune system containing five types of lymphocytes which include B & T lymphocytes produced in the bone marrow. These are part of the adaptive immune system and are responsible for specific immunity. Defending the body by recognising and destroying antigens with antibodies and killer cells. The immune system is not fully understood and new discoveries are coming to light all the time. They have now discovered that memory T cells pack themselves full of an energy source called mitochondria which allow them to have long life-extending the immunity. This source is long lasting because it uses fats and amino acids and not glucose like most other cells. B lymphocytes will latch onto the antigen and hold it for its mate T lymphocytes which destroy the antigen by creating antibodies specifically for this antigen and then creates more of these antibodies for next time, so it can tackle the problem quicker. Also its stores a memory of the strategy to tackle the antigen. This is how vaccinations work rather than the system having to work out how to fight an antigen it already has been exposed to a small amount and has stored antibodies and has the strategy to destroy it.


Physical barriers:
Before talking about vaccines I would also like to point out a few more things about the immune system. There are front line defences to the immune system's physical barriers which stop things entering bodies.  Things such as skin, coughing, sneeze and gagging respond to irritants and things like mucous. However the most important physical barrier in my eyes is the lining of the stomach and intestinal tract and along with the lungs are an animals weakest point. When an animal dies these barriers are quickly penetrated by anaerobes and decomposition starts. Therefore, if there is any penetration of the outward defences like ulcers they are a serious problem because they compromise tangible barriers. There are also internal reactions, for example, fever which is the immune system way of fighting an illness and swelling is a body's way of protecting an area. Both are natural responses.


Vaccination and my position:
So what is a vaccination and are they as wonderful as the medical world make out? vaccinations sound a good idea and it’s the most economical way of controlling an outbreak of an infectious disease. It has also saved many lives and almost wiped out diseases like rabies and anthrax, however, there are several problems in my eyes:
1. If the animal or human has a depleted immune system when it is given the vaccine, it's be found, which is not surprising that they have lymphocytes immaturities, deficiencies in B and T lymphocytes which create antibodies. Also, the body loses the ability to dampen inflammation. So at best in these cases, the vaccine will provide little protection and in some cases, it may cause a number of issues such as allergic reaction or the immune system goes into overdrive and as a consequence a runaway inflammatory response. Which is exactly what laminitis is in horses.
2. They are administered in an unnatural way bypassing a body's natural defences by going straight into the bloodstream. This does not engage all the possible defences against a particular disease.
3. Research shows that vaccines are immunosuppressive.
4. Vaccination boosters are based on tradition more than scientific facts according to American Animal Hospital Association.
5. Animals are vaccinated much more than people and yearly vaccinations are something else that does not make any sense. These injections do cause harm and affect the immune system.
6. It can create a false sense of security.
7. Reactions can be mild, but also can cause death.
Therefore, vaccines should stimulate an immune response that is long lasting and safe. It should be stable and deliver this response in the place where it is needed.


© Copyright 2015 Chris Simpson