What is Acquired Immunity?

Immunity is the defense mechanism of our body. Now, we all know about Innate Immunity or Natural Immunity that we inherit from our parents. Apart from this, there also exists another type of Immunity- Acquired Immunity.

What is Acquired Immunity?

Killer Cells and Antibodies

Acquired Immunity is the immunity that our body gains over time, similar to how an individual gains knowledge over time. However, our body learns how to target and destroy specific pathogens only when these pathogens invade our body. This knowledge and action performed by the body forms the Acquired Immunity.

Special features of Acquired Immunity

Acquired Immunity, unlike natural immunity doesn’t have natural barriers. However, what it does is generate special chemicals, also known as antibodies that neutralize the harmful toxins produced by the pathogen. Each specific type of pathogen requires a custom chemical to neutralize it. The major cells of acquired immunity are T lymphocytes and B lymphocytes. Also, acquired immunity of our body has some really surprisingly unique features. They are:

1) Specificity. Our body has the ability to recognize and differentiate various pathogens. It has a specific action for each type of pathogen. So, it is actually able to differentiate between different types of bacteria, whether it is harmful or not, and able to determine the best way to eliminate it.

2) Diversity. It can recognize a huge variety of micro-organisms from protozoa to advanced viruses.

3) Discrimination between self and non-self . It is able to tell apart the cells from our own body and other foreign particles or foreign cells. So after a transplant, patients usually have to take anti-rejection pills so that the body doesn’t reject the transplanted tissue. However, this does not hold true for blood transplant

4) MemoryOur immune system remembers each and every immunological encounter in our body. What this means is, once our body is invaded by a pathogen, it creates a specific response to that germ and eliminates it. It also remembers somehow this experience of fighting and the specific antibodies that are effective in destroying or eliminating the pathogen, so that the next time it enters, our body precisely knows the best possible way to immediately eliminate it.


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