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The Cells and Secretions of the Immune System
Understanding the Immune System

Adapted by Mary Shomon

The immune system stockpiles a tremendous arsenal of cells. Some staff the general defenses, while others are trained on highly specific targets. To work effectively, however, most immune cells require the active cooperation of their fellows. Sometimes they communicate through direct physical contact, sometimes by releasing versatile chemical messengers.

In order to have room for enough cells to match millions of possible foreign invaders, the immune system stores just a few of each specificity. When an antigen appears, those few specifically matched cells are stimulated to multiply into a full-scale army. Later, to prevent this army from overexpanding wildly, like a cancer, powerful suppressor mechanisms come into play.

lymph node contents

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