Resistance of the Body to Infection: I. Leukocytes, Granulocytes, the Monocyte-Macrophage System, and Inflammation
Our bodies are exposed continually to bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites, all of which occur normally and to varying degrees in the skin, the mouth, the respiratory passageways, the intestinal tract, the lining membranes of the eyes, and even the urinary tract. Many of these infectious agents are capable of causing serious abnormal physiologic function or even death if they invade the deeper tissues. In addition, we are exposed intermittently to other highly infectious bacteria and viruses besides those that are normally present, and these can cause acute lethal diseases such as pneumonia, streptococcal infection, and typhoid fever.
Our bodies have a special system for combating the different infectious and toxic agents.This is comprised of blood leukocytes (white blood cells) and tissue cells derived from leukocytes. These cells work together in two ways to prevent disease: (1) by actually destroying invading bacteria or viruses by phagocytosis, and (2) by forming antibodies and sensitized lymphocytes, one or both of which may destroy or inactivate the invader. This chapter is concerned with the first of these methods, and Chapter 34 with the second.
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