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Immune Complex Type 3 Hypersensitivity

How can the immune system damage the ‘self’? The immune system can damage the body in two ways. First it can cause damage as a side product of defense against an antigen as described in this animation. The reaction of the immune system to an antigen may produce symptoms that are more severe than those caused by the disease. Second a failure of the immune system can result in an autoimmune disease. Autoimmune diseases occur when the immune system attacks some component of the body. Generally this occurs because there is a molecular similarity between the antigen and some molecule found in the body. Antibodies are produced that cannot distinguish between the antigen and the chemically similar body molecule. Multiple sclerosis is an example of an autoimmune disease.

View the animation below, then complete the quiz to test your knowledge of the concept.

1Immune complexes consist of
A)antibody plus complement
B)basophil plus complement
C)antigen plus antibody
D)antigen plus complement

2Intermediate size complexes
A)become basophils
B)activate complement
C)are removed by phagocytosis

3In the presence of activated complement, neutrophils
A)are repelled
B)produce histamine
C)cause vasodilation
D)degranulate and release enzymes that cause tissue damage

4Most intermediate size antigen antibody complexes are removed by phagocytosis.

5After complement activation, basophils may degranulate causing vasodilation.

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