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Last update 3-8-2008

Cells that are active in the defense against infections

There are many types of cells involved in the defense against infections. This page provides an overview of all these cells and their role.

Cells and their role in the defense against infections
Defense system Cell Role
Physical defense Epithelial cell
(skin)
??Generate defensins??
Block out microorganisms by forming a tightly closed layer (together with the basal membrane)
Epithelial cell
(gut wall)
Generate defensins
Shed from the epithelial wall to get rid of attached ((potential) pathogen) microorganisms (desquamation)
Block out microorganisms by forming a tightly closed layer (together with the basal membrane)
Epithelial cell
(nose, trachea and bronchia)
Generate defensins
Catch airborne particles, such as microorganisms and viruses, and transport them back to the mouth. This is done by epithelial movement of cilia on cells that line the brochial tree, combined with mucus generated by specialized beaker cells located between them
Form a barrier to microorganisms by forming a tightly closed layer (together with the basal membrane)
Epithelial cell
(urine tract, bladder and urethra)
Generate defensins and mucus
Form a barrier to microorganisms by forming a tightly closed layer (together with the basal membrane)
Colonization resistance Microorganisms (in gut or on skin) Generate defensins
Crowd out (potential) pathogen microorganisms from the gut wall by outgrowing them
Compete for food with (potential) pathogen and other nonrelated microorganisms
Autochtonous microflora Generate defensins
Grow-out (potential) pathogen microorganisms from the gut wall
Compete for food with (potential) pathogen and other nonrelated microorganisms
Cell generation Homopoetic stemcell Generate all other 'white blood cells' as well as blood platelets
Megakaryocyt Generate blood platelets
??Generic lymphoid precursor cell ?? ??Generate T-cells, B-cells, Natural Killer cells and Plasmacells??
??Generic myeloid precursor cell ?? Generate megakaryocytes, granulocytes, mastcells and monocytes/macrophages
Innate defense Monocyt (??mononucleair phagocyt??) ??Eliminate microorganisms by phagocytosis??
Develop into marcophages
Generate cytokines
Generate complement
Macrophage and dendritic cells Eliminate microorganisms by phagocytosis
Kupfercell (macrophage located in the liver) Eliminate microorganisms by phagocytosis
Microgliacell (macrophage located in the brain) Eliminate microorganisms by phagocytosis
Panethcell Mass-produce defensins in the gut. The Panethcells are located in the deepest part of the gut crypts between the villi, especially in the small intestine (Jejunum) part of the gut.
Adaptive defense Eosinophile granulocyte Eliminate parasites and other allergens by phagocytosis
Neutropohile granulocyte Eliminate microorganisms by phagocytosis
Basopohile granulocyte ??Mediate inflammation??
Natural killer cell Kill tumor cells and engulfed microbes (viruses) and parasites
Mastcell ??Mediate inflammation??
B-cell ??Generate antigens??
T-cell (cytotoxic T-cells or TC-cells) Generate cytokines
LG-lymphocyt Generate cytokines
T-helper-cell (TH-cell) ??Generate immunoglobulins??
T-suppressor-cell ??Suppress inflammatory action??
Plasma-cell (antigen forming cell) Are fulgrown B-cells specialized in antibody production upon Th instruction and Antigen presenting-cells
??Antigen presenting-cell?? ??Trigger inflammatory action??
Blood platelet ??Generate inflammation mediators??
Defense modulation and control Neuro-endocrino-immune system hormonal communication with and influence on cells of the immune systems
produce besides hormones also catecholamines and a variety of neurotransmitters.
Liver Synthesizes most of the complement proteins.
Produce bile, that has bactericidal qualities by defensins.
Adrenal gland Generate adrenalin in emergency situations - suppresses defense
Generate corticosteroids that dampen inflammation.