Adventures of Martin the scientist (XIV) The power of the immune system

One Monday morning, Martín's teacher, Miss Laura, told them that for the following week they should write a story about their nature heroes. The boy had never tried to write a story so that would be a challenge. What hero could he talk about if what he most admired was science?

Martín spent two days thinking about his new task until, watching one of his favorite programs on television, he had an idea: he would write the history of the immune system, a group made up of organs, tissues, 21 cells immune and progeny. He knew that thanks to the immune system he was healthy most of the time, that's why his heroes were those little beings who defended him day by day.

The following Monday the boy read the following in front of his classmates.

— This is a story called “The power of the immune system”, and it is my favorite group of heroes because they defend us every day so that we are healthy. The first line of defense consists of our skin and secretions such as saliva and sweat. These represent a physical barrier and contain enzymes or an acid pH that kills pathogens. If despite this, the foreign agent enters the body, it can be eliminated by the acids of the stomach or even by the oxygen in the blood. Enemies that manage to resist and pass through these barriers begin to reproduce, until they are detected by the phagocytes!

A hand went up and Miss Laura let the girl ask her question.

— What are phagocytes? She — she asked she interested in the story.

— They are gluttonous cells that are dedicated to eating everything that seems strange to them — answered Martín.

— How do you recognize what is strange? Because for me a milkshake with French fries could be, but I know that for others it is not — said his teacher.

— That's because almost all infectious agents have sugars on their membranes that are quite similar, which makes it easier for them to find them. However, viruses that reproduce with the help of cells cannot be eaten, so other cells called NK appear there. When the NKs realize that a cell is infected with viruses, they throw a protein called perforin at them, which kills the cell. Phagocytes and NK cells can take care of the situation for up to four days, but if things don't improve they have to call the special forces and warn them of the danger.

— Special forces? another of the children asked.

— Yes! As the phagocytes are very fast, they carry the message to the lymph nodes. There, the helper T cells are like teachers that transmit the information to other cells called B and T. Finally, after they are trained, B and T go to battle. A B cell that is going to fight becomes plasma B and releases antibodies that serve to immobilize pathogens and, like NK cells, T cells kill using perforins, with the difference that they carry out this attack more powerfully and effective. Once they win the battle, B and T become memory cells for the body to remember how to eliminate enemies. The end.

Everyone applauded Martín and his teacher congratulated him for his story. Not only had he complied with the slogan, but he had reported the interesting battle that existed within our body more often than we thought.

1 comment

  • chris

    excelente !!!!

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