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1. being highly resistant to a disease because of the formation of humoral antibodies or the development of immunologically competent cells, or both, or as a result of some other mechanism, as interferon activities in viral infections.
2. characterized by the development of humoral antibodies or cellular immunity, or both, following antigenic challenge.
3. produced in response to antigenic challenge, as immune serum globulin.
immune response the reaction to and interaction with substances interpreted by the body as not-self, the result being humoral and cellular immunity. Called also immune reaction. The immune response depends on a functioning thymus and the conversion of stem cells to B and T lymphocytes. These lymphocytes contribute to antibody production, cellular immunity, and immunologic memory.
Disorders of the Immune Response. Pathologic conditions associated with an abnormal immune response (immunopathy) may result from (1) immunodepression, that is, an absent or deficient supply of the components of either humoral or cellular immunity, or both; (2) excessive production of gamma globulins; (3) overreaction to antigens of extrinsic origin, that is, antigens from outside the body; and (4) abnormal response of the body to its own cells and tissues.

Those conditions arising from immunosuppression include agammaglobulinemia (absence of gamma globulins) and hypogammaglobulinemia (a decrease of circulating antibodies). Factors that may cause or contribute to suppression of the immune response include (1) congenital absence of the thymus or of the stem cells that are precursors of B and T lymphocytes; (2) malnutrition, in which there is a deficiency of the specific nutrients essential to the life of antibody-synthesizing cells; (3) cancer, viral infections, and extensive burns, all of which overburden the immune response mechanisms and rapidly deplete the supply of antigen-specific antibody; (4) certain drugs, including alcohol and heroin, some antibiotics, antipsychotics, and the antineoplastics used in the treatment of cancer.

Overproduction of gamma globulins is manifested by an excessive proliferation of plasma cells (multiple myeloma). hypersensitivity is the result of an overreaction to substances entering the body. Examples of this kind of inappropriate immune response include hay fever, drug and food allergies, extrinsic asthma, serum sickness, and anaphylaxis.

Autoimmune diseases are manifestations of the body's abnormal response to and inability to tolerate its own cells and tissues. For reasons not yet fully understood, the body fails to interpret its own cells as self and, as it would with other foreign (not-self) substances, utilizes antibodies and immunologically competent cells to destroy and contain them.
immune system a complex system of cellular and molecular components whose primary function is distinguishing self from nonself and defense against foreign organisms or substances; see also immune response. The primary cellular components are lymphocytes and macrophages, and the primary molecular components are antibodies and lymphokines; granulocytes and the complement system are also involved in immune responses but are not always considered part of the immune system per se.
Major organs and tissues of the immune system in the child. From McKinney et al., 2000.
immune complex disease local or systemic disease caused by the formation of circulating antibody-antigen immune complexes and their deposition in tissue, due to activation of complement and to recruitment and activation of leukocytes in type III hypersensitivity reactions.


any action or change of condition evoked by a stimulus.
acute phase response a group of physiologic processes occurring soon after the onset of infection, trauma, inflammatory processes, and some malignant conditions. The most prominent change is a dramatic increase of acute phase proteins in the serum, especially C-reactive protein. Also seen are fever, increased vascular permeability, and a variety of metabolic and pathologic changes.
anamnestic response the rapid reappearance of antibody in the blood following introduction of an antigen to which the subject had previously developed a primary immune response.
auditory brainstem response ABR; a special hearing test that tracks the nerve signals arising in the inner ear as they travel along the auditory nerve to the brain region responsible for hearing. A small speaker placed near the ear makes a clicking sound, and special electrodes record the nerve signal as it travels. The test can determine where along the nerve there is a lesion responsible for sensorineural hearing loss. It is often used for individuals with such loss in just one ear; this is often caused by a benign tumor along the auditory nerve, but if the ABR reading is normal in a given region, the chances of there being a tumor there are small. This test can also be used on infants since it requires no conscious response from the person being tested.
autoimmune response the immune response in which antibodies or immune lymphoid cells are produced against the body's own tissues. See also autoimmune disease.
conditioned response see conditioned response.
dysfunctional ventilatory weaning response a nursing diagnosis adopted by the North American Nursing Diagnosis Association, defined as inability of a patient to adjust to lowered levels of mechanical ventilator support, which interrupts and prolongs the process of weaning. See also mechanical ventilatory weaning.
galvanic skin response the alteration in the electrical resistance of the skin associated with sympathetic nerve discharge.
immune response see immune response.
inflammatory response the various changes that tissue undergoes when it becomes inflamed; see inflammation.
post-trauma response former name for the nursing diagnosis post-trauma syndrome.
reticulocyte response increase in the formation of reticulocytes in response to a bone marrow stimulus.
triple response (of Lewis) a physiologic reaction of the skin to stroking with a blunt instrument: first a red line develops at the site of stroking, owing to the release of histamine or a histamine-like substance, then a flare develops around the red line, and lastly a wheal is formed as a result of local edema.
unconditioned response an unlearned response, i.e., one that occurs naturally, in contrast to a conditioned response.
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.


An agent that induces immunosuppression (for example, cyclosporine, corticosteroids).
Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012


A drug that reduces the body's natural immunity by suppressing the natural functioning of the immune system.
Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


Agent that induces immunosuppression (e.g., cyclosporine, corticosteroids).
Medical Dictionary for the Dental Professions © Farlex 2012
References in periodicals archive ?
Preemptive decrease in immunosuppressant medications further puts patients at risk of graft rejection and acute renal failure.
Stratified analysis based on age, sex, type of immunosuppressant and duration of renal transplant showed that frequency of fungal infections was similar in patients =40 years of age (63.6%) compared to less than 40 years (58.6%), (p=0.44); female (64%) and male (59.5%) patients, (p=0.46); those who had duration of transplant less than 8 months (63.9%) and those who had duration of transplant greater than 8 months (57.7%), (p=0.41); and those who were on steroids (69.6%) as compared to other immunosuppressant (62.8%), (p=0.54).
The recipient has to be under life-long immunosuppressant drugs and has to make sure he consistently follows that medication regimen.
With the launch of our proprietary immunosuppressant drug, we will be able to significantly address adherence issues associated with once-daily dosing compared with twice-daily dosing regimens."
The drug, rapamycin, has already been approved for use in humans as an immunosuppressant that helps prevent organ transplant rejection.
In addition, doctors may commonly prescribe other immunosuppressant drugs in order to limit systemic steroid doses.
Celiac disease is effectively treated by elimination of wheat, barley, and rye from the diet, but in a small minority of patients with refractory disease, steroids or immunosuppressant drugs are needed.
In June 2005, CMS directed that Part D formularies include all or substantially all drugs in the following six drug classes: antidepressant; antipsychotic; anticonvulsant; immunosuppressant (to prevent rejection of organ transplants); antiretroviral (for the treatment of infection by retroviruses, primarily human immunodeficiency virus; and antineoplastic (only those chemotherapy drugs that are generally are not covered under Medicare Part B).
Brindley had undergone chemotherapy, bone marrow transplant, stem cell transplant, and immunosuppressant drug treatmentfor a rare bone marrow disease.
Cases of the infection, progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, were generally found in patients who had risk factors, including treatment with immunosuppressant drugs, Roche said.
In a study of the power of gratitude (along with immunosuppressant drugs) to prevent the rejection of transplanted organs, it was found that organ recipients who kept "gratitude journals" had better general health, mental health, and vitality than recipients whose journals focused on routine daily concerns.