Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine

2013 Edition
| Editors: Marc D. Gellman, J. Rick Turner

Immune Function

  • Jos A. Bosch
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1005-9_463



Immune function describes the body’s response to infection (i.e., the invasion by microorganisms), neoplasms (cancers), and tissue damage.


Successful immune function establishes a state of immunity (Latin: immunitas, “freedom from”) against infection and disease. Immunity relies on a multifaceted and flexible defense system, the immune system that protects against microorganisms, like bacteria and viruses, and other foreign invaders, like toxins. The immune system also regulates repair processes in response to tissue damage, and it protects against neoplasms (cancers). The immune system does not operate autonomously. It is, among others, influenced by central nervous system processes and their neurohormonal outflows, which, in turn, are shaped by social and psychological factors. Likewise, activities of the immune system have profound effects on those in the central nervous system, influencing mood, behavior, and cognition.

Immune protection...

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References and Readings

  1. Abbas, K. A., Lichtman, A. L., & Pillai, S. (2012). Cellular and molecular immunology (7th ed.). Philadelphia: Elsevier, Saunders.Google Scholar
  2. Bosch, J. A., Engeland, C., & Burns, V. E. (2011). Psychoneuroimmunology in vivo: Methods and principles. In J. Decety & J. T. Cacioppo (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of social neuroscience. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Dantzer, R., O’Connor, J. C., Freund, G. G., Johnson, R. W., & Kelley, K. W. (2008). From inflammation to sickness and depression: When the immune system subjugates the brain. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 9(1), 46–56.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Murphy, K. (2011). Janeway’s immunobiology (8th ed.). London: Taylor & Francis.Google Scholar
  5. Tracey, K. J. (2002). The inflammatory reflex. Nature, 420(6917), 853–859.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Clinical PsychologyFaculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences, University of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands