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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Davis, California » Western Human Nutrition Research Center » Immunity and Disease Prevention Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #367019

Research Project: Impact of Diet on Intestinal Microbiota, Gut Health and Immune Function

Location: Immunity and Disease Prevention Research

Title: Primer on immune response and interface with malnutrition

Author
item Stephensen, Charles

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/11/2020
Publication Date: 12/11/2020
Citation: Stephensen, C.B. 2020. Primer on immune response and interface with malnutrition. Book Chapter. 88/110. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-56913-6_3.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-56913-6_3

Interpretive Summary: This chapter describes basic aspects of the immune system, and highlights how malnutrition can affect immunity. The mammalian immune system has evolved an innate component to identify classes of pathogens (e.g., viruses, types of bacteria, parasites) and respond with specific effector mechanisms to clear such infections. When the innate immune system cannot clear infections, the adaptive immune system develops pathogen-specific immunity that employs similar effector mechanisms to specifically target a particular pathogen in order to clear the initial infection and prevent further infections. The immune system protects the host at a nutritional cost which can be substantial in the case of frequent or severe infections due to effects of the pathogen on host tissues but also as a result of the inflammatory response to infection, causing decreased food intake, nutrient malabsorption, nutrient loss, increased nutrient metabolism and altered nutrient transport and storage. Malnutrition can compromise host defenses and increase the frequency or severity of infections. Most nutrients are required for adequate immunity and specific examples are provided for several specific nutrients.

Technical Abstract: The mammalian immune system has evolved an innate component to identify classes of pathogens (e.g., viruses, types of bacteria, parasites) and respond with specific effector mechanisms to clear such infections. When the innate immune system cannot clear infections, the adaptive immune system develops pathogen-specific immunity that employs similar effector mechanisms to specifically target a particular pathogen in order to clear the initial infection and prevent further infections. The immune system protects the host at a nutritional cost which can be substantial in the case of frequent or severe infections due to effects of the pathogen on host tissues but also as a result of the inflammatory response to infection, causing decreased food intake, nutrient malabsorption, nutrient loss, increased nutrient metabolism and altered nutrient transport and storage. Malnutrition can compromise host defenses and increase the frequency or severity of infections. Most nutrients are required for adequate immunity and specific examples are provided for several specific nutrients.