Q&A: What is the difference between innate and adaptive immunity?

antigen binding siteTo a immunologist, the host immune system is separated into two main branches: innate and adaptive immunity. Here, we will briefly discuss the difference between the two:

The commonality – While both innate and adaptive immunity has the goal to mount an effective response against pathogens, one is less specific than the other against infection.

The difference – Innate immunity is a general response whereas adaptive immunity is specific to a particular antigen

The innate immunity is the first line of defense. It is there even before the infection. The innate immunity consists of phagocytic cells, barriers, and antimicrobial compounds. The innate immunity presents the pathogen antigen to initiate adaptive immunity.

The adaptive immunity depends on the antigen presented from the innate immunity arm of the immune system. Unlike innate immune response, it mounts responses to specific antigenic challenges.

In the next issue, we will discuss more about the mechanisms of innate immunity.

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