Your immunity: which cells do what

Here are some of the different cells that can be affected by the availability of nutrients and related compounds. This is a shorthand account I compiled based on on-line definitions and Wikipedia entries, so is not definitive. Each description seems to require its own glossary, but this is a start to understanding the complexity of our immune response.

Type of Cell How it works
Neutrophils White blood cell (WBC, leukocyte), key part of immune system that patrols the blood and lymph system
Monocytes Largest WBC, surrounds and kills microorganisms and boost immune responses
Macrophages Large cells that ingest foreign material, can be stationary in tissues or mobilized to infection sites; important in both innate and adaptive immunity
Dendritic cells Process antigens (foreign bodies) so T-cells have access; initiates the adaptive immune response
T cells Various types; secrete cytokines in response to antigens
B cells Activated in spleen and lymph nodes; secrete antibodies and cytokines
NK cells Natural killer cells, first line of defense against cancer and virus infected cells; control viral infections while adaptive immune response kicks in

© 2020 Kathleen Searles, MS, RDN, CSSD, LD