The adaptive immune system can be considered as the more educated line of defense. It has more knowledge of the world and is adapted to fighting against specific foreign invaders.
The following are the unique characteristics of the adaptive immune response:
- Learns from experience and records events
If we think of the innate immune system as the ambulance, the adaptive immune system is like the hospital. It has an excellent memory which records every important encounter and is able to perform very specific operations.
- Much slower then the innate immunity
It’s high level of intelligence does come at a cost though, which is a much slower response time. For example, if the innate immune response is activated within seconds of an encounter, the adaptive immune system can take days (or even weeks) to develop it’s response.
- Begins to work more effectively over time
The adaptive immune response isn’t always slow. Since it’s able to learn and memorize encounters, it begins working more efficiently over time. This allows it to respond much faster against foreign invaders/substances (antigens) it has previously encountered.
Adaptive immunity develops over time
The adaptive immune system isn’t actually present at birth, but instead it has to develop over time. It learns from each encounter and records relevant information for future use.
Because of it’s more advanced tactics and longer response times, the adaptive immune system doesn’t always need to activate. If the innate immune system can adequately deal with the issue at hand, there is not need for adaptive immunity to kick into gear.
The next two sections briefly examine the way in which adaptive immunity responds to threats and the different responses it can mount. The discussion is broken down as follows:
Though the discussion doesn’t go into too much detail, it aims to provide an overall understanding of how the adaptive immune system functions. And since some of the literature on seborrheic dermatitis suggests potential links to adaptive immunity [1, 2, 3], this understanding may prove quite relevant.