Adaptive immunity

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Immunity that is brought about by exposure to an infection[1]. Immune responses that are induced via exposure to a pathogen are not present from birth. Unlike innate immunity, adaptive immune responses show a higher degree of specificity and are more sophisticated. Adaptive immune responses are also much slower than innate responses (days as opposed to minutes). In spite of this, adaptive immunity is more effective in fighting future infections as they "exhibit memory". Adaptive immune responses can be cell mediated or humoral (via antibodies).

Adaptive immune responses are mediated by white blood cells or lymphocytes. These are split into two classes; B cells and T cells.


  1. Murphy, K. Weaver, C. (2016) Janeway's Immunobiology,fckLR9th edition, New York: Garland Science. Glossary, page 818.
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