Introduction to the Immune System

  • Scott McComb
  • Aude Thiriot
  • Lakshmi Krishnan
  • Felicity Stark
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1061)


The immune system in a broad sense is a mechanism that allows a living organism to discriminate between “self” and “non-self.” Examples of immune systems occur in multicellular organisms as simple and ancient as sea sponges. In fact, complex multicellular life would be impossible without the ability to exclude external life from the internal environment. This introduction to the immune system explores the cell types and soluble factors involved in immune reactions, as well as their location in the body during development and maintenance. Additionally, a description of the immunological events during an innate and adaptive immune reaction to an infection is discussed, as well as a brief introduction to autoimmunity and cancer immunity.

Key words

Immune system Immunity Vaccines Adaptive immunity Innate immunity Inflammation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Scott McComb
    • 1
  • Aude Thiriot
    • 2
  • Lakshmi Krishnan
    • 3
  • Felicity Stark
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology, and ImmunologyUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada
  2. 2.Microbiology and ImmunobiologyHarvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  3. 3.Human Health Therapeutics PortfolioNational Research Council CanadaOttawaCanada

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