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Acquired immunity

Formation of antibodies and lymphocytes after exposure to an antigen.

Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)

Depression or suppression of the immune system after exposure to the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV); marked by opportunistic infections, secondary neoplasms, and neurologic problems.


Masses of lymphatic tissue in the nasopharynx.


Substance capable of causing a specific hypersensitivity in a body; an antigen.


Abnormal hypersensitivity acquired by exposure to an antigen (allergen).


Exaggerated or unusual hypersensitivity to foreign protein or other substance.


Protein produced in the bloodstream by lymphocytes in response to a specific antigen, such as a bacterium or toxin. Antibodies destroy or weaken antigens.


Intense allergic reaction (such as asthma) influenced by hereditary tendency or predisposition.

Autoimmune disease

Chronic disabling disease caused by the abnormal production of antibodies to normal body tissues; multiple sclerosis, lupus erythematosus are examples.

Axillary node

Lymph node under the arm.

B cell

A lymphocyte that originates in bone marrow and transforms into a plasma cell to secrete antibodies.

CD4+ cells

Helper T cells that carry the CD4+ protein antigen on their surface.

Cell-mediated immunity

Type of immune response that involves T cell lymphocytes. These lymphocytes act directly on antigens to destroy them.

Cervical node

Lymph node in the neck.


Protein that aids cells to destroy antigens. Examples are interleukins and interferons.

Cytotoxic T cell

T cell lymphocyte that directly kills foreign cells; T8 cell.

Dendritic cell

A type of macrophage that captures antigens and presents them to T cells for destruction.


Test to detect anti-HIV antibodies in blood. This is a screening test for AIDS.

Helper T cell

Lymphocyte that aids a B cell lymphocyte in recognizing antigens and stimulating antibody production.

Hodgkin disease

Malignant tumor of lymphatic tissue in the spleen and lymph nodes.

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)

Virus (retrovirus) that causes AIDS.

Humoral immunity

Type of immune response in which a B cell lymphocyte transforms into a plasma cell and secretes antibodies.


Abnormal condition characterized by an exaggerated response of the immune system to an antigen.


Syndrome of spleen enlargement (splenomegaly) and destruction of red blood cells (hemolysis).

Immune response

The body's capability to resist foreign organisms and toxins that can damage tissue and organs.


Laboratory test that separates immunoglobulins (IgG, IgM, IgD, IgE, and IgA).


Antibodies (proteins) secreted by B-cell lymphocytes (plasma cells).


Blocking or turning off the normal immune response.


Use of immunologic techniques to treat disease.

Inguinal node

Lymph node in the groin region.


Anti-viral proteins secreted by lymphocytes.


Proteins (cytokines) that stimulate the immune system including B & T cell lymphocytes.

Interstitial fluid

Fluid that fills the spaces in between cells.

Kaposi sarcoma

Malignant tumor of skin and connective tissue; associated with AIDS.


Fluid that circulates within lymph vessels and lymph nodes.


Inflammation of lymph nodes.


Disease of lymph nodes.

Lymph capillaries

Tiny lymph vessels that carry lymph through the body.


Abnormal collection of fluid in tissue spaces caused by obstruction of lymph vessels and backflow of lymph.

Lymph node

Mass of stationary lymphatic tissue along the path of lymph vessels.


White blood cells that develop primarily in lymph nodes and the spleen and fight against foreign organisms.


Increase in numbers of lymphocytes in the bloodstream.


Deficiency of lymphocytes.

Lymphoid organs

Organs containing and derived from lymphatic tissue; spleen, thymus gland and lymph nodes.


Malignant tumor of lymph nodes and lymphatic tissue.


Formation of lymphocytes.

Lymph vessels

Carry lymph throughout the body.


Large phagocyte found in lymphatic tissues and connective tissues; derived from a monocyte.

Mediastinal node

Lymph node in the mediastinum (central area between the lungs in the chest).

Monoclonal antibody

Antibody produced in a laboratory to attack specific antigens.

Multiple myeloma

Malignant tumor of bone marrow cells (plasma cells that produce immunoglobulins).

Natural immunity

Person's own genetic ability to fight off disease. It includes phagocytes and lymphocytes such as natural killer cells.

Natural killer cell

Lymphocyte that recognizes and destroys foreign cells by releasing proteins called cytokines.

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Malignant tumor of cells (lymphocytes and large macrophages called histocytes) found in lymph nodes and spleen

Opportunistic infections

Infectious diseases associated with AIDS; toxoplasmosis, tuberculosis, herpes simplex, and Pneumocystosis carinii pneumonia (PCP).

Plasma cell

B cell lymphocyte that secretes antibodies.

Protease inhibitor (PI)

Drug used to treat AIDS by blocking production of protease, an enzyme that helps HIV to reproduce.


Virus that makes copies of itself using the host cell's DNA, a process that is the reverse of the normal replication mechanism in cells. HIV is a retrovirus.

Reverse transcriptase inhibitor

Drug used to treat AIDS by blocking an enzyme (reverse transcriptor), needed to make copies of HIV.

Right lymphatic duct

Receives lymph from the right side of the body and empties lymph into a vein in the neck.


Organ adjacent to the stomach (in the LUQ) that produces, stores, and eliminates blood cells.


Removal of the spleen.


Enlargement of the spleen.

Suppressor T cell

Lymphocyte that inhibits the activity of B and T cell lymphocytes.

T cell

Lymphocyte originating in the thymus gland and destroys antigens by direct action or production of cytokines such as interferons and interleukins.

Thoracic duct

Large lymphatic vessel in the upper chest.


Removal of the thymus gland.


Malignant tumor of the thymus gland.

Thymus gland

Lymphoid organ in the mediastinum that produces T cell lymphocytes and aids in the immune response.


Masses of lymphatic tissue on either side of the back of the mouth.


Pertaining to a toxin, which is a poison or harmful substance.


Poison or harmful substance.


Introduction of a vaccine (containing dead or weakened antigen) to produce immunity. It is a type of acquired immunity.


Weakened or dead antigens to induce antibody production.

Viral load test

Measures the amount of HIV in the blood stream.

Wasting syndrome

Weight loss and decrease in muscle strength, appetite, and mental activity that occurs with AIDS.

Western blot

Specific test to detect presence of anti-HIV antibodies in the bloodstream.

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