Immune System
MAIN PARTS OF THE IMMUNE SYSTEM

The immune system is made up of special organs, cells, and chemicals that fight infection (microbes). These are the parts of the immune system that actively fight infection.

The main parts of the immune system are:

  • White blood cells
  • Antibodies
  • Complement system
  • Lymphatic system
  • Spleen
  • Bone marrow
  • Thymus
  • Tonsils

 

White blood cells

White blood cells are an important component of the immune system. They are made in the bone marrow and are part of the lymphatic system. 

Antibodies

An antibody, also known as an immunoglobulin (Ig), is a large, Y-shaped protein produced mainly by plasma cells that are used by the immune system to destroy pathogens. Antibodies help the body to fight microbes or the toxins (poisons) they produce. 

 

Complement system

The complement system is made up of about 25 proteins that work together to “complement” the action of antibodies in destroying bacteria. Complement also helps to rid the body of antibody-coated antigens. Complement proteins circulate in the blood in an active form.

Lymphatic System

The lymphatic system is a network of tissues and organs that help rid the body of toxins, waste, and other unwanted materials. 

The lymphatic system is made up of:

  • lymph nodes (also called lymph glands) 
  • lymph vessels 
  • white blood cells (lymphocytes).

Lymphocytes can travel throughout the body using the blood vessels. The cells can also travel through a system of lymphatic vessels that closely parallels the body’s veins and arteries. The lymphatic vessels carry lymph, a clear fluid bathes the body’s tissues. Immune cells and foreign particles enter the lymph nodes tiny blood vessels.

 

Spleen

The spleen is a blood-filtering organ at the upper left of the abdomen that removes microbes and destroys old or damaged red blood cells. It also makes disease-fighting components of the immune system (including antibodies and lymphocytes).

 

Bone marrow

Bone marrow is the soft tissue found inside the bones. It produces red blood cells. It is the ultimate source of all blood cells, including white blood cells destined to become immune cells. 

 

Thymus

The thymus is an organ that lies behind the breastbone. It filters and monitors the blood content. It produces the white blood cells called T-lymphocytes.

Tonsils 

Tonsils are a collection of Lymphocytes in the throat.

Blood

Blood is the circulatory system that carries cells and proteins of the immune system from one part of the body to another.

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