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Updated: Mar 6 2018


  • Overview
  • Introduction
    • The adaptive immune system maintains memory of past infections so that
      • the body is able to maintain a small number of primed cells
      • future (secondary) exposure to the same pathogen will be more robust because
        • adaptive immunity can be activated more quickly
        • memory cells can proliferate to higher levels
        • specific antibodies have undergone affinity maturation
    • Primary and secondary responses to pathogens differ in notable ways
      • Differences between Primary and Secondary Responses
      • Feature
      • Primary Responses
      • Secondary Responses
      • Activation
      • Response must be activated by antigen presenting cells
      • Response can be generated directly through reactivation of memory cells
      • Response time
      • Response peaks in 5-10 days after infection
      • Response peaks in 1-3 days after infection
      • Peak response
      • Lower peak levels of adaptive immune cells
      • Higher peak levels of adaptive immune cells
      • Secreted proteins
      • First IgM then later IgG antibodies
      • Low affinity immunoglobulins
      • Fully differentiated IgG, IgA, and IgE antibodies
      • High affinity immunoglobulins
  • Memory B-Lymphocytes
    • Memory B-cells are a distinct population that
      • have undergone isotype switching such that
        • memory B-cells express IgA, IgE, and IgG on surface
        • naive B-cells express IgM and IgD on surface
      • have enter resting cell stage
      • have dramatically increased affinity for antigen
    • Activation of memory B-cells by antigens promotes
      • differentiation of B-cells into plasma cells
      • secretion of large quantities of antibodies
  • Memory T-Lymphocytes
    • Memory T-cells are different from primary T-cells because
      • they have decreased IL-2 receptors compared with effector T cells
      • they can remain dormant for years
      • they can be activated and induced to proliferate upon antigen exposure
    • Memory T-cells can also survive activation induced cell death (AICD) that involves
      • repression of T-cell function following an immune stimulus mediated by
        • Fas and Fas ligand death domain interactions
        • other cell-to-cell contacts
      • apoptosis of the T-cell population specific for an antigen
      • retention of a memory population after killing the effector T-cell population
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