The Innate Immune System (1/2) - A Zoo of Cells

in science •  2 years ago  (edited)


I've already talked about the difference between the innate and adaptive immune system and then went on to explain how the adaptive immune system works. With all the posts about viruses, I failed to show you what the innate immune system actually is!

Sure, it’s mostly barriers like your skin and stuff like stomach acid and snot but there are also cells. So many cells. Granulocytes (neutrophils, eosinophils, and basophils), monocytes which differentiate into macrophages and dendritic cells, dendritic cells that don’t come from monocytes and natural killer cells (NK cells).

A whole fucking zoo of cells. Let’s get started.

The Granulocytes

The granulocytes are called granulocytes because they have a lot of granules. Seriously. Look at this eosinophil:

By Bobjgalindo

And where did the neutrophils, basophils, and eosinophils get their names from? Biologists are very creative. They named the cells after the acidity of the dye they can be stained with (neutrophils neutral, basophils basic and eosinophils acidic).

But what are their main functions?

Neutrophils like to do phagocytosis. They eat up pathogens that come from the outside, like bacteria and fungi. They’re also the main ingredient in pimples. Yum.


Basophils release histamine which helps induce the inflammatory response.


Eosinophils contain toxic proteins and free radicals (oxygen radicals are the reason you need antioxidants) to destroy parasitic infections (also tumor cells).



Macrophages also like to do phagocytosis. A lot.

New ones constantly differentiate out of monocytes (big cells in our blood). When they’re grown they wander from our blood into our body’s tissue and eat up bacteria, viruses, protozoa and the leftovers of dead cells that once belonged to our body. They can live for months and even years!


Natural Killer Cells

In contrary to the T-Killer cells, the NKs don’t remember. They react to every pathogen like it’s the first time they’ve ever seen it, even if it’s the 20th. They kill infected cells and tumor cells when those have antibodies attached to them or are missing MHC-1 which indicates an infection or mutation. @suesa


Dendritic Cells

Myeloid (or “conventional”) dendritic cells differentiate out of monocytes, just like macrophages. They’re the immune system’s snitches.

Immature myeloid dendritic cells constantly absorb antigens (= foreign proteins) until they’re mature. And then, they present the structure of those antigens to T-cells, which are part of the adaptive immune system. The presentation allows T-cells to learn what the pathogens look like so they can react to it.


Plasmacytoid dendritic cells come from bone marrow stem cells. They react to a viral infection by producing a lot of chemicals that alarm the rest of the immune system to the presence of viruses.

You see, there is a lot going on in your body. You should be glad that it (usually) happens by itself and you don’t have to micromanage every single cell!


Lecture “Immunology – Innate Immune System” by Barbara Walch-Rückheim

Picture Credit:

First picture from

Eosinophil: By Bobjgalindo (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Sketches by me

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That is a plethora of defense system. Good to know about neutrophil and pimples. So having a pimple is not so bad since it means the component of our immune system is functioning properly. I think this may be a sort of consolation to all those pimples riddled face. Thank you.

Excellent article. The immune system has far more pieces and parts than I ever realized. I'm just sitting here wondering about two things: (1) how such a complex system of mutually reinforcing elements evolved, and (2) how such a complex system magically grows from an embryo based on a little bit of DNA encoding.

I am trying to recover my vp, so here's a tiny symbolic vote and a Tip!


Great art.I think you genius artist.
I hope you support me @suesa


  ·  2 years ago Reveal Comment

Can you stop tagging yourself everywhere please? That's spam.

I am indeed glad i do not have to micromanage all this functions... i knew the immune system was awesome but i never knew it was this awesome. Its packed with so much complexity and yet its so precise.
Our immune system now looks to me like a super hero 😉, but what circumstances do we expose our self to that tends to weaken the immune system, and makes it less active?

The immune cells are alive, so they need vitamins, energy sources, amino acids and the right fats. Bad nutrition, little exercise and a general unhealthy lifestyle (smoking) damages your whole body, including your immune system.

Noted... gotta take vitamins and nutrition much more seriously... didn't know smoking also depletes the immune system... thanks for sharing.
Might i suggest you do a post on breast cancer... I'll particularly like to know the relationship between breast cancer and other virus.

I'll have to do some research on this first

That'll be great... I'll also look into it myself, thank you for making science so awesome and simple...

No they dont need vitamins or amino acids they just need sunlight! become a breatharian lol they can live on just air XD heh

I mean you can try

but you DO micromanage all of this stuff! Youre brain even does have a lil roll in it you just dont have to consciously do it! Thank God for that Right?

Oh yes... thank God for that... am sure I'll go crazy if i had to do it all consciously 😂😂

  ·  2 years ago (edited)

What an amazing post!

Really didn't know, how the blood cells work to save us from external invasion. They are like our defence army of the body to make every attack of the enemy fruitless. :D :P

Thanks @suesa for bringing these interesting bio posts. And your sketches are awesome.

This is very informative article, thank you for breaking it down so it is more understandable. Do you have any tips on improving immune function through supplementation or any other strategies?

Too many supplements can actually harm your body. A healthy diet, exercise and enough sleep are the best things you can do to help your immune system (+ having the important vaccinations).

There are a few things that can be supplemented if you don't take in enough on natural ways. But those should first be tested by a doctor before you start supplementing!

Vitamin D is often an issue, I take supplements myself. Iron is usually more of a problem for women. Calcium and magnesium can also be taken as supplements.

Vitamin C supplements are usually unnecessary as 1-2 glasses of orange juice a day (for example) are already enough vitamin C.

Have you ever read on the impact gut health can have on your immune system? I think that consuming fermented foods and taking certain supplements that can promote the growth of health bacteria in the gut is definitely worth it to improve the immune system!

  ·  2 years ago (edited)

Hi @suesa, you know me so I hope you're not suprised that I don't think vaccinations are good for your immune system. I'm not talking about all vaccinations! I'm just affraid that:

  • injecting is not a natural way for any disease to enter the body
  • the EPA warns the amounts of aluminum in some vaccines grossly exceeds that what is in vaccines and what's worse they are looking at oral intake! Injection is again, far worse.
  • It is also very hard to make sure there are no others viruses present in vaccines

But, that said, there are also auto-vaccinations which remind the dendritic cells (correct me please if I'm wrong at any time, I'm here to learn as well) to attack the virus/bacteria/fungi.

Also please read about the benefits and what naturally occurs when children are not vaccinated:

Neil Miller:

When children contract chickenpox, when children contract measles, mumps, rubella, you gainprotective benefits that protect you in later life against cancer. Several studies, multiple studieshave confirmed this time and again. These are really vaccinated against unvaccinated studies.These are studies where they’ve compared populations that had caught these diseases naturally versus populations that never got these diseases. They look at the cancer rates in later life.

JM: Let me stop you there because I think it’s an important point. I don’t know that anyone inthese studies have ventured to guess or speculate on the mechanism. But it would seem to me that when you have a naturally acquired infection, you’re really exercising your immune system quite profoundly in developing authentic immunity, lifelong immunity, which is radically different from the type of artificial immunizations that are done through vaccinations, which is not life long – it rarely ever is – and has relatively decreasing antibodies and actually stimulates a different part of the immune system.

It could potentially increase your risk of cancer rather than decrease it. We see that in many ofthese other vaccines, like human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.

NM: When you are vaccinated, you are prevented from gaining that lifelong natural protectionagainst cancer. Also, I’ll mention against heart disease.

JM: What’s the mechanism there?

NM: I’ll tell you about several other studies that confirm that the infections – They know that later born children – they’ve known this for years and several studies show this – I don’t show these studies in my book but I mention it in the introduction to the chapter on cancer and natural infections. Several studies have confirmed time and again that later born children are actually more protected against cancer than firstborn children. And again, for the same reason. They are exposed to more infections.

Hello, i'm rather neutral on vaccination. But when people pricking themselves with a rose and caught tetanus, wasn't it a sort of injection ?

I loved reading this and the illustrations. It was amusing and informative.

  ·  2 years ago (edited)

I find your posts worth every minute. If one can break down complicated science (trust me, my neurons are still adjusting to your science... which is way complex considering what i got from school, lol) with hilarious illustrations to help me digest the importance of what micro manages my own body then I am in :)

I recommend you should get some rest one day with this posting.

Instead of writing, just use your drawings in the post and see if anyone understands what you're trying to tell them.

It will be awesome!

You can recommend a topic :P

I'll try to come up with something, first I'll have to check you haven't posted/drawn about it earlier :)

Upvoted and followed. I will unfollow you if I find out you are an anti-vaxxer! Anti-vaxxers are anti-science. I feel like I am the only pro-science person on here calling out the stupidity of the anti-vaxxers! What do you think of the anti-vax movement, of which there are plenty here on Steemit? The preponderance of them has gotten me down!

vaccines work.png

Come join the #steemSTEM channel on because there are a lot of sensible science people :) (and no anti vaxxers)

@suesa , you did a nice explanation. Those drawings you made are enough to explain the whole idea. I will be expecting part 2 tomorrow....Thank you

The drawed pictures are really so cute :) good effort..

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yes an interesting discussion @suesa
but I am still confused, does the dendrite include stem cells?
I know the dendrite is part of the cell, like the cell body, the nucleus.
and dendritic cells work on nerve cells. Is not it?

You got some things mixed up here :)

Stem cells are the origin of all cells, the baseline.

Dendrites (like neurons have them!) are "the branched projections of a neuron that act to propagate the electrochemical stimulation"

Dendritic cells are immune cells, as described in this post. They have dendrites too but those are non-neuronal dendrites.

Dendrite comes from the greek δένδρον or déndron meaning tree, so in this case it describes the long "arms" dendritic cells develop.

I hope I could clear up the confusion!

great p o s t ....

do some real science projects raise money for a steem lab and do some synthetic biology or something!

Lets try to launch a rocket to the moon for Steemit and settle the Flat Earth Debate once and for all (or have flat earth side claim Steemit faked their moon launch! lol)

Lol... this idea is awesome and i totally support it... 👌

Truly a fascinating topic.

But I'm just curious why there is no mention of how all these immune system response mechanisms are indeed present in our own urine(blood plasma ultra filtrate).
And why isn't there a serious study of urine as a healing agent?
Would the knowledge of our own personal (free) healing powers disrupt the mega billion dollars medical pharmaceutical industries?

i love this illustrations!!! :D

Thank you xD I've never been much of an artist but I guess it doesn't matter sometimes

they are just so funny and full of emotions))) that one with a worm+!... super!!! :D

@suesa, you could make a wonderful children's book illustrator. <3

I doubt that but thanks 😂

You are most welcome :)

Found your post interesting to read, i cant wait to see your post soon, good luck for the upcoming update. The article is really very interesting and effective.

Wow, Your Post is Awesum, Thanks for sharing :)

Congratulations @suesa!
Your post was mentioned in the hit parade in the following category:

  • Pending payout - Ranked 10 with $ 147,08

Lotta "cells" in our own " prison" does that make us the " warden" if so heh we all have a key the same exact one ..... to the same exact freedom....... inDeeD ... " Health is Wealth"
Great Article... nice artwork ... steem indeed the alchemical moment rise up the vertebrae 33 and away......

Thank You Kindly

nice share. like the theme ;)

Hi @suesa! I need your help, I'm looking for white turmeric, if you have it please inform me at [email protected] thank you!

Upvoted and RESTEEMED!

Thanks but an individual comment would have been appreciated more.

Hello, i surely missed something, but what is a T-killer ? Is it a T-cell ?

Yes. There are several kinds of T cells

What I would like to understand better, and wish more research would do it (if it wasn't pharmaceutical for only doing research in profit!)....
is how immune systems are being triggered and hightened....

auto immune diseases. milk allergy gluten intolerance. excemma is often an immune symptom.
etc etc

  ·  2 years ago Reveal Comment
  ·  2 years ago Reveal Comment

Thanks for the spam, here take my flag.

thats not a spam dear :) u may remove the flag.. i just made a mining rig so thought of sharing that... thats it..

It is spam. It has absolutely nothing to do with my post and I didn't ask for it. Posted under this post, it's spam.

  ·  2 years ago (edited)Reveal Comment
  ·  2 years ago Reveal Comment

Good for you. I consider it comment spam. So just don't comment it or something similar again and we'll be fine.

If you want to share something, do it on your own blog and don't hijack someone else's.

ah alright... u r so much scared of ur post being hijacked just by a single comment... comeon! have some faith on ur followers...

It's not only you who posts spam though. I just don't tolerate any spam.

I only flagged you with 10%, that's like 6 cents. Just leave it and stop spamming people who don't want that :)

If you have the right to comment unrelated stuff, I have the right to flag you.

Mining is the past of cryptocurrency and here on steem we advanced away from it.

mining is the only perfect way for cryptocurrency.. otherwise nobody had booked asicminers
steemit is definitly the new way... but exchanges are still in btc and eth.. ltc... which are possible to be made more through mining only...
i think u are deficit of knowledge....
just showing ur power through flagging :D well... i can see how jealous u r ...
thats fine... it may be in ur nature...
have a good time.. good luck :)

mining is the only perfect way for cryptocurrency

Mining costs electricity and when there is a different way to ensure integrity and safety of the chain that does not require huge amounts of power, that one is clearly superior

asics existing is a problem of bitcoin. New mining algorithms like monero uses have adressed this issue. asics ruin the core safety principle of bitcoin, same as mining pools do.

I flag spam, not wrong statements :)

  ·  2 years ago Reveal Comment

Exactly, this is why I don't self vote and give out 20 to 30 votes a day to others. Cause I don't want them to succeed.

Oh gosh.... suesa is awesome guys... why don't you post your minning link under a post that's related to cryptocurrencies... you can't post totally unrelated and unrelevant stuff, and then expect an upvote... 🖓

You are a spammer and have the guts to call out others? Wow

Me? I was only trying to give my opinion on the issue, am definitely no spammer

Definitely not you :) I responded to @rishabhgupta :)

Ok... thanks

  ·  2 years ago Reveal Comment