Biotechnology Genetics Health And Medicine Microbiology

Can stress weakens the immune

The Immune system is the defense mechanism that exists in every living creature by which they can attack any foreign bodies invade them. Foreign bodies include toxins and germs; toxins are the chemicals that are being made by microbes; however, in germs, fungi, viruses, and bacteria are included.

Figure 1: Immune System different organs. The figure shows the disparate organs of the
immune system by which living creatures can attack any foreign invaders. Source



Main parts in the immune system:

  • White blood cells:

WBCs are being continuously made in the bone marrow and they are considered a part of the lymphatic system. They are moving throughout your whole body to detect invaders and kill them afterward. They include natural killer cells [NKs], T-cells, and B-cells in addition to many other types of immune cells.

  • Antibodies:

             Antibodies are also known as immunoglobulin [Ig]; they are proteins by which the adaptive immune system could attack the foreign bodies. As implied by its name, the antibody’s main function is to bind to the antigen. Furthermore, on the structural level, they are composed of two main chains; two heavy chains (H) and two L chains that represent the light chains. When an antigen comes, it binds to the antigen-binding site on the tip of the Y as shown in the figure below.


Figure 2: Structure of Antibody. The figure shows the immunoglobulin structure which consists of two heavy chains [H] in addition to another two light chains [L]; additionally, it shows the antibody tip to which the antigen binds. Source
  • Complement System:

Along with the antibodies and phagocytes, the complement system plays a vital function in vertebrate’s immune defense; because it has the ability to activate several immune-defensive-cells such as astrocytes and leukocytes. Several studies have been carried out to furtherly understand the mechanism by which the complement system works; in one of them, the researchers have been made experiments in mice by deleting the genes encoding for the complement molecules.

Complement system function appears in defending the body against infections made by some bacteria; additionally, it also plays a significant role in incompatible blood transfusions. Therefore, any deficiencies made to the complement system lead to serious diseases such as glomerulonephritis, polymyositis, and Systemic lupus erythematosus(SLE).


  • Lymphatic System:

Betterhealth (2019) proposed that it is a network that is spread into the body and their functions are disparate as following:

  • Manage body fluid levels.
  • Dealing with malignant cells.
  • Some of the fat absorption from the intestine.
Figure 3: Human lymphatic system. Source

The system itself is made up of lymphocytes (White Blood Cells “WBCs”), lymph glands, nodes, and lymph vessels.


  • Spleen:

           Spleen is deemed the second largest organ in the immune system which consisted of two pulps, red and white. Its intrinsic function is filtering the blood from both old red blood cells [RBCs] and foreign material. Other spleen functions appear in the metabolism of the iron in addition to infection prevention.


  • Bone Marrow:

Bone marrow is considered the primary hematopoietic organ in which the red blood cells are being continuously produced; additionally, plasma cells and antigen-specific antibodies are produced there as well.


  • Thymus:

The thymus is one of the lymphoid organs in which the T-cell function develops; since it is the place where the T-cells differentiate and maturate. Recent studies have been focusing on studying a specified clear picture on how molecular mechanisms work through all the immune system and the thymus isn’t an exception. They have obtained clear findings that the thymus gland is only functioning until puberty. Furthermore, it contains both lymphoid cells in addition to T-cells; additionally, thymosin has been reported to stimulate the differentiation of lymphocytes into T-cells and this process is carried out in the thymus. Once the T-cells are matured, they migrate to the lymph nodes afterward.


What is Stress? and how it affects us?  

Stress could be defined as the feeling of physically and emotionally tensioned and it rears its head when the person is going through a bad event by which he became nervous and angry as well. It could be categorized into two main categories; acute and chronic as follows:

    1.Acute Stress:

This type of Stress, Through which many people go through in various daily-life situations; such as slamming on the brakes or having a fight with somebody as the case is termed acute stress. It doesn’t last long since it’s deemed short-term stress. Furthermore, when persons are doing something for the first time; they definitely undergo acute stress.


    2.Episodic Acute Stress:

               According to Medical News Today, episodic acute stress is a case in which the person becomes so tense and irritable which directly has an effect on his or her relationships.


  3.Chronic Stress:

               National Library of Medicine (2019); clarified that this is the type that lasts longer from weeks to months, and it occurs when you’re having problems in your social or working lives. If problems leading to this type haven’t been figured out; it will have an impact on health leading to serious health problems.

4.Post-chronic stress effects:

Chronic stress has many bad impacts on health, obesity, depression, and even heart disease results due to such conditions. Their conditions can further worsen if they continue to be in such a condition.


Effects of stress on our immune system:

When persons are stressed; their bodies tend to produce more stress hormone which is the cortisol. In normal cases, cortisol boosts immunity by limiting the inflammation. Additionally, stress has a very bad impact on immune cells especially the lymphocytes whose main function is to fight the infection; therefore, when they are decreased, the human body is more susceptible to viruses and the common cold isn’t an exception. Over and above, In the long-term, being stressed most of the time leads to high levels of the inflammation which in returns weakens the immune system since the lymphocytes production is decreased.

A study has been carried out to prove that there is a direct relation between the stress and the immune system; researchers have taken 75 samples from volunteers. The samples have been collected one month prior to their exams [low stress], and they have been also taken during their exams [high stress]. After that, a measurement for t-cells activity has been carried out. Finally, the results have obtained clear findings that group one has more t-cells in comparison to those samples taken from persons during exams.

How to perfectly manage stress levels?

    • Meditation: each person has to meditate for at least three times a day in order to reduce the stress and hence, avoid the production of large amounts of cortisol and then, reduces inflammation.
    • Yoga: yoga is one of the best ways to reduce stress and relax. It helps the bodies to boost resistance to infection. Yoga poses always allow the fluid inside the lymphatic system to circulate perfectly to filter out the toxins.

Finally, stress could be controlled; especially if the case isn’t acute to avoid post-stress effects. Additionally, persons should practice sports to meditate their bodies and allow their minds and bodies to perfectly relax.
















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