Non-specific Immunity

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Flash card set for Nursing students studying pathophysiology.

1st lines of defense in Non-specific Immunity

1. Physical and Mechanical Barriers
2. Biochemical Barriers
3. Epithelial Derived Chemicals
4. Bacterial Derived Chemicals

Physical and Mechanical Barriers

Skin, Mucous Membranes, Lining of Respiratory, GI, GU Tract, Low temperature on surface of skin

Biochemical Barriers

-Skin has pH of 3-5
-Sebaceous Glands secrete fatty acids & lactic acid
-Perspiration contains lysosomes

Epithelial Derived Chemicals

-aka antibacterial peptides


poke holes in bacterial membrane (8 types)


aka surfactant proteins participate in defense by promoting phagocytosis

Bacteria Derived Chemicals

Normal flora in skin, GI, GU, and respiratory tract help digest, create, and absorb chemicals that we need. They also inhibit growth of more invasive bacteria

2nd line of defense

Inflammatory Response

3rd line of defense

Specific Immunity

Functions of Inflammatory Response

1. Marshals resources within the vascular structure into surrounding affected tissue by releasing cells and fluids that isolate, destroy, and remove invaders.
2. It also promotes healing as it prepares the affected tissue for healing and repair.

5 types of Leukocytes

1. Basophils
2. Eosinophils
3. Neutrophils
4. Monocytes
5. Lymphocytes

5 Cardinal Signs of Inflammation

1. Calor = heat
2. Rubor = redness
3. Tumor = swelling
4. Dolor = Pain
5. Loss of Function

Inflammation involves orchestrated reactions of:

1. Vascular response and blood derived inflammatory mediators
2. Cell derived inflammatory mediators/ inflammatory cells
3. Mast cells

3 characteristics of vascular response

1. Blood vessel dilation
2. Increased vascular permeability and leakage from vessels.
3. White blood cell adherence to vessel walls and migration to the site of injury.

Sequence of vascular changes in inflammation

1. Phagocytes in circulation
2. Margination/Pavementing
3. Diapedesis
4. Exudation

3 Plasma Protein Systems

1. Complement System
2. Kinin System
3. Clotting System

Complement System

Produced by blood proteins designated C1 - C9 with the goal to destroy and inactivate foreign antigens. Participates in virtually every inflammatory response

3 mechanisms to activate complement system

1. Antigen-Antibody complexes
2. Products released from bacteria
3. Components of other protein systems

Functions of complement

1. Opsonize Bacteria
2. Attract leukocytes to site
3. Act as anaphylatoxins/induce degranulation
4. Open pores in the PM of pathogens
5. Kill pathogens directly (MAC)

Clotting System

process by which fibrin strands create a meshwork that cements blood components together.

Functions of clotting system

1. Keep microorganisms where phagocytosis is high to prevent spread of infection
2. Form clots to stop bleeding
3. Prepare injured tissue for repair


A protein that is the final product of the clotting cascade.

2 pathways of Clotting System

1. Extrinsic (cuts, burns, crushing)
2. Intrinsic (toxins, kallikrein, collagen)

Function of Kinin System

1. Vasodilation
2. Vascular permeability
3. Pain
4. Smooth Muscle Contraction


Primary Kinin and final result of Kinin cascade.






- 1st army in inflammation
- Arrive w/ in 90 minutes
- aka polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMS)
- 10 day lifespan


-Found in MAST cells, platelets, basophils, eosinophils, neutrophils
-Causes Vasodilation and permeability of arterioles
-Constricts smooth muscles of large vessel walls
-Constricts bronchial smooth muscles & produces mucus


1. Sensitize blood vessels to effects of other inflammatory mediators
2. Produces free radicals
3. Pain
4. Fever
5. Vasodilation/Capillary Permeability

Leukotrienes (SRS-A)

1. Smooth Muscles Contraction
2. Vascular Permeability
3. Chemotaxis
4. Happens late in inflammation


Released by lymphocytes. Chemotaxis of macrophages, basophils and neutrophils.

What are the biochemical mediators mast cells contain?

1. Histamine
2. Neutrophil Chemotactic Factor
3. Eosinophil Chemotactic Factor of Anyphylaxis

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