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Chapter 2 : Cells of the Immune System

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Abstract:

To understand how the inflammatory and immune systems work, it is first necessary to know the players. The players are the cells of these systems and their products (proteins). These cells, the organs they compose, and the delivery network for the cells and their products constitute the blood and lymphoid systems. The major cellular constituents of the immune system are a subgroup of white blood cells known as lymphocytes. This chapter introduces the cellular players and the various roles they play. The cells that are present in the blood represent the fully mature products of cell lineages for which the progenitors are found in other organs. There are two major cell types in the blood: red blood cells (erythrocytes) and white blood cells (leukocytes). The basic structure and function of white blood cells are described in this chapter. Polymorphonuclear white blood cells are subdivided into three major populations on the basis of the staining properties of their cytoplasmic granules in standard hematologic blood smears or tissue preparations: neutrophil, pink; eosinophil, red; basophil, blue. Two major types of antigen processing: exogenous and endogenous are discussed in detail. A general view of hematopoiesis and a summary of the properties of white blood cells are provided in the chapter.

Citation: Sell S. 2001. Cells of the Immune System, p 10-32. In Immunology, Immunopathology, and Immunity, Sixth Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818012.ch2
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Figures

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Figure 2.1

Representative cells in blood from normal individuals.

Citation: Sell S. 2001. Cells of the Immune System, p 10-32. In Immunology, Immunopathology, and Immunity, Sixth Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818012.ch2
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Image of Figure 2.2
Figure 2.2

Separation of blood components by centrifugation. The red blood cells are the most dense component, sediment most rapidly and make up approximately 40% of the blood volume. This percentage is known as the hematocrit. The hematocrit is used to estimate increases or decreases in the number of circulating red cells in the blood. The plasma component (protein-enriched fluid) makes up the largest percentage (approximately 55 to 60%) and is the least dense. In between the plasma and the red blood cells, the white blood cells form a thin layer called the buffy coat, which is creamy white in color.

Citation: Sell S. 2001. Cells of the Immune System, p 10-32. In Immunology, Immunopathology, and Immunity, Sixth Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818012.ch2
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Image of Figure 2.3
Figure 2.3

Leukocytes. Composite drawings indicate relative size (micrometers) and morphology of cells involved in immune reactions and in nonimmune inflammatory reactions. The erythrocyte is included for size reference, since it is the most easily identified cell in blood smears and in many tissue sections.

Citation: Sell S. 2001. Cells of the Immune System, p 10-32. In Immunology, Immunopathology, and Immunity, Sixth Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818012.ch2
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Image of Figure 2.4
Figure 2.4

White blood cell nomenclature. White blood cells may be divided into two major populations on the basis of the form of their nuclei: single nuclei (mononuclear or round cells) or segmented nuclei (polymorphonuclear). Mononuclear cells are further divided into large (macrophage or monocyte) or small (lymphocyte) on the basis of the size of the nucleus. Lymphocytes may be further subdivided into two major populations: T cells and B cells, on the basis of function and cell surface phenotype (to be described later). B cells are the precursors of the cells that synthesize and secrete humoral antibodies. Subpopulations of T cells are responsible for a number of “cell-mediated” immune activities. T cells and B cells cannot be differentiated on the basis of morphologic appearance but do have different phenotypic markers. Some lymphocytes may “kill” certain other cell types in vitro (natural killer or NK cells), and others may become “armed” by passive absorption of antibody (antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity [ADCC]) or activated by lymphokines (lymphokine-activated killer cells). Polymorphonuclear cells play different roles in inflammation and are defined by different staining characteristics of their prominent cytoplasmic granules as eosinophils (red), basophils (blue), and neutrophils (pink) in standard blood smears.

Citation: Sell S. 2001. Cells of the Immune System, p 10-32. In Immunology, Immunopathology, and Immunity, Sixth Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818012.ch2
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Image of Figure 2.5
Figure 2.5

(A) Plasma cell. (B) Large granular lymphocyte (NK cell). Plasma cells contain abundant cytoplasm filled with lamellar endoplasmic reticulum and a Golgi apparatus. In tissue sections, there is polar location of the nucleus and a “cartwheel” appearance of the nucleus produced by condensation of chromatin along the nuclear membrane. Large granular lymphocytes contain mature lysosomes containing cytotoxic enzymes. ER, endoplasmic reticulum; G, Golgi apparatus; M, mitochondria; N, nucleus; L, lysosomes.

Citation: Sell S. 2001. Cells of the Immune System, p 10-32. In Immunology, Immunopathology, and Immunity, Sixth Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818012.ch2
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Image of Figure 2.6
Figure 2.6

Cellular interactions in induction of antibody formation. Exogenous processing results in presentation of antigens in association with class II MHC to CD4+ TH cells. During endogenous processing, antigen is presented in association with class I MHC to CD8+ TCTL/S-cell precursors. This subject is presented here only as a preliminary introduction to antigen processing and cell-cell interactions during induction of immunity. For more details, see chapter 4.

Citation: Sell S. 2001. Cells of the Immune System, p 10-32. In Immunology, Immunopathology, and Immunity, Sixth Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818012.ch2
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Image of Figure 2.7
Figure 2.7

Hematopoiesis. The stroma and blood cells arise from a common bone marrow stem cell that gives rise to a stromal stem cell and a hematopoietic stem cell. The stromal stem cell differentiates into stromal cells, fibroblasts, adipocytes, smooth muscle cells, and osteoblasts, which form the supporting structure for the hematopoietic cells. The white blood cell lineages differentiate from a pluripotent hematopoietic stem cell in the bone marrow. The first differentiation step of the hematopoietic stem cell is into lymphoid and myeloid series. Lymphoid cell

Citation: Sell S. 2001. Cells of the Immune System, p 10-32. In Immunology, Immunopathology, and Immunity, Sixth Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818012.ch2
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Figure 2.8

Role of growth factors in hematopoiesis. Interleukins, CSFs, and erythropoietin have been shown to induce differentiation during hematopoiesis.

Citation: Sell S. 2001. Cells of the Immune System, p 10-32. In Immunology, Immunopathology, and Immunity, Sixth Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818012.ch2
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References

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Tables

Generic image for table
Table 2.1

Some components of neutrophil granules

Citation: Sell S. 2001. Cells of the Immune System, p 10-32. In Immunology, Immunopathology, and Immunity, Sixth Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818012.ch2
Generic image for table
Table 2.2

Characteristics of major mast cell populations a

Citation: Sell S. 2001. Cells of the Immune System, p 10-32. In Immunology, Immunopathology, and Immunity, Sixth Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818012.ch2
Generic image for table
Table 2.3

Some basic properties of T and B lymphocytes a

Citation: Sell S. 2001. Cells of the Immune System, p 10-32. In Immunology, Immunopathology, and Immunity, Sixth Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818012.ch2
Generic image for table
Table 2.4

Some functional names for factors produced by activated lymphocytes a

Citation: Sell S. 2001. Cells of the Immune System, p 10-32. In Immunology, Immunopathology, and Immunity, Sixth Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818012.ch2
Generic image for table
Table 2.5

Comparison of NK cells with other lymphoid cells

Citation: Sell S. 2001. Cells of the Immune System, p 10-32. In Immunology, Immunopathology, and Immunity, Sixth Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818012.ch2
Generic image for table
Table 2.6

Macrophage subpopulations

Citation: Sell S. 2001. Cells of the Immune System, p 10-32. In Immunology, Immunopathology, and Immunity, Sixth Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818012.ch2
Generic image for table
Table 2.7

Classes of hematopoietic growth factors a

Citation: Sell S. 2001. Cells of the Immune System, p 10-32. In Immunology, Immunopathology, and Immunity, Sixth Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818012.ch2
Generic image for table
Table 2.8

Hematopoietic cytokines under development a

Citation: Sell S. 2001. Cells of the Immune System, p 10-32. In Immunology, Immunopathology, and Immunity, Sixth Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818012.ch2
Generic image for table
Table 2.9

Summary of properties of cells of the immune system

Citation: Sell S. 2001. Cells of the Immune System, p 10-32. In Immunology, Immunopathology, and Immunity, Sixth Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818012.ch2

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