Types of immunity

Types of immunity

Immunity is the set of defense mechanisms by which the immune system protects the body against external aggression. There are two types of immunity: innate immunity and acquired immunity.


Innate Immunity:

Innate immunity is the set of cells and proteins that act as the first line of defense when there is contact with a pathogen. Its main function is to protect our body from all antigens and act as a protective barrier.

It is non-specific and immediate, so the defense method is always the same, treating external pathogens in the same way.

Its main components are:

  • Monocytes (which develop into macrophages)
  • Neutrophils
  • Eosinophils
  • NK cells (natural killer cells)
  • Complement System
  • Cytokines


Acquired (or Adaptive) Immunity:

This type of immunity develops throughout life. It occurs when there is contact with various antigens and the immune system develops a specific response against them.

At the moment that this external pathogen is detected, specific cellular components adapted to that infectious agent are activated, thus generating immunological memory against a second contact, with subsequent responses being much faster and more efficient.

This immunity is constituted mainly by T lymphocytes and B lymphocytes, these B lymphocytes will differentiate into plasma cells producing specific antibodies against the external agent. Therefore, it is more specific than innate immunity, and has a broad response against pathogens.


Acquired immunity can be obtained actively or passively:

– Active immunity

Active immunity arises as a response to a pathology. That is, it arises after exposure to an infectious microorganism that causes disease or before any other external agent.

Active immunity can be classified into:

– Natural: Antibodies develop in response to an infection.

– Artificial: Antibodies develop in response to a vaccination.


– Passive immunity

This type of immunity occurs when a person receives antibodies instead of producing them in their own body. Passive immunity provides immediate protection against a pathogen but has a limited protective duration.

This can be classified into:

Natural: This is the case of babies, since they are born with the mother’s antibodies that are transferred through the placenta or can be obtained through breast milk.

Artificial: It occurs when a person receives a treatment that contains antibodies.

In conclusion, innate and adaptive immunity act together to identify and destroy infectious agents. At the time an infection occurs, the innate immune system provides an early and nonspecific response immunity against microorganisms and activates the acquired immunity to develop a specific defense against the infectious agent.

Your immune system is your best defense to combat any pathology, for this reason it is necessary to keep it in top shape.

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