immunity, ability of an organism to resist disease by identifying and destroying foreign substances or organisms. Although all animals have some immune capabilities, little is known about nonmammalian immunity. Mammals are protected by a variety of preventive mechanisms, some of them nonspecific (e.g., barriers, such as the skin), others highly specific (e.g., the response of antibodies).
Sections in this article:
- Active and Passive Immunity
- Nonspecific Defenses
- The Immune Response
- Undesirable Immune Responses and Conditions
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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