Acquired (Adaptive) immune system – one of two parts of the immune system, characterized by a slower response to the first encounter with an infection and then a rapid-recall memory for any future encounters with the same infection.
B cells – one type of lymphocyte generally considered part of the adaptive immune system. B cells have two main functions in adaptive immunity; to secrete antibodies and to help activate other cells of the immune system to defend the body.
Beta glucan – polymer of glucose (sugar) molecules attached in a specific conformation. Beta glucans can come from different source such as cereals (oats and barley) and fungi such as mushroom and yeast.
Complement – a system of proteins that are present in blood that act together to defend the body against pathogens.
CR3 receptors – protein on the surface of many immune cells including neutrophils which when bound to beta glucan helps to prime the neutrophils to respond to infectious challenges.
Complement Receptor – a protein on the surface of a cell that binds to activated complement proteins.
Dendritic cells – cells whose main function is to show (present) small parts of potential pathogens to other immune cells in order to activate the body’s defenses.
Hygiene Hypothesis – as described in Janeway’s Immunobiology 8th Ed., “a hypothesis first proposed in 1989 that a change in exposure to ubiquitous microorganisms was a possible cause of the increase in allergy.”
Immune system – The tissues, cells, and molecules involved in innate immunity and adaptive immunity. (Janeway’s Immunobiology, 8th Ed.)
Immunonutrition – the nutrients required for proper functioning of the immune system, generally in addition to normal nutritive requirements for the human body.
Innate immune system – one of two parts of the immune system, characterized by a rapid and broad response to infections with no “memory” capability when the same infection is encountered subsequently.
Lymphocyte cells – cellular components of the adaptive immune system including B and T cells.
M-Cells – cells located in the immune tissue of the intestines which are specialized to continuously sample the contents of the intestines in order to alert the body to potential pathogens.
Macrophage – cells important in both innate and adaptive immunity that engulf potentially infectious agents and trigger innate and adaptive immune responses.
Natural killer (NK) cells – a type of immune cell which is able to directly kill virally-infected cells and/or cancer cells, generally not thought to have a memory function and therefore are considered part of the innate immune system.
Oxidative burst – method through which some cells of the innate immune system, including neutrophils, produce anti-microbial chemicals.
Phagocyte – any immune cell that can engulf (“eat”) another cell, includes neutrophils.
T-Cells – one type lymphocyte cell that is part of the adaptive immune system. The two main types of T cells, helper and killer T cells, are responsible for cell-mediated adaptive immune responses in the body.