White blood cells are part of our body's immune system and help to defend our body against pathogens.
Let's look at how white blood cells fight diseases!
- Phagocytes are a type of white blood cells. Around 70% of white blood cells are phagocytes.
- When pathogens such as bacteria enter our body, phagocytes engulf and digest the pathogen. This process is called phagocytosis.
- Phagocytes can engulf and digest any type of pathogen, so it is non-specific.
- Lymphocytes are another type of white blood cells. Around 25% of white blood cells are lymphocytes.
- Lymphocytes produce proteins called antibodies, which play a very important role in the immune system.
- Antibodies can recognize and bind to specific antigens.
- Antigens are substances found on the surface of cells, including pathogens.
- When foreign antigens enter our body, specific antibodies will recognize them and bind to them.
- Antibodies can help neutralize and inactive foreign substances and pathogens.
- It also becomes easier for phagocytes to spot and engulf pathogens when antibodies bind to antigens.
Sometimes, we get vaccinations to prevent ourselves from getting sick from certain diseases. Do you know how vaccination works? 😲
- To make ourselves immune to certain diseases, we inject vaccines.
- Vaccines contain inactivated pathogens. Since the pathogens are inactivated, they will not cause any serious symptoms even when they enter our body.
- The pathogens, when they enter our body, will stimulate lymphocytes to produce antibodies that can specifically bind to the antigens on the cell surface of the pathogens.
- Some of the lymphocytes will develop into memory cells.
- If the same pathogen enters our body later, these memory cells will produce antibodies much faster and at a larger quantity so that the pathogen can be destroyed quickly.