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Thinking Scientifically
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1. Cecropins and gamma-delta T cells have only recently been discovered. Why is it that we know less about the immune systems than other organ systems?

2. Why is a vaccine consisting of gp120, the spoke that emanates from HIV, unlikely to be effective? Cite three reasons why developing a vaccine against HIV infection has been so challenging.

3. How might a drug advertised to be a “histamine blocker” relieve allergy symptoms?

4. How can a vaccine cause the illness it is intended to prevent?

5. Why is a polyclonal antibody response valuable in the body but a monoclonal antibody valuable as a diagnostic tool?


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Additional Questions and Terms

1. Insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus can result from the immune system’s interpretation of the similarity between a protein on the insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas and an antigen on Coxsackie virus. (This virus causes a severe sore throat.) Explain the type of disorder this form of diabetes is and how it develops.

2. A young man eats gooseberry pie and soon begins to feel uneasy and warm. Then itchy hives pop out on his skin. The itching intensifies and suddenly he heads for the bathroom, where he vomits and has diarrhea. His throat swells and he seeks help. What is happening to him?

3. Rasmussen’s encephalitis is a rare and severe form of epilepsy that causes children to have 100 or more seizures a day. Affected children have antibodies that attack brain cell receptors that normally receive neurotransmitters. Is this condition an inherited immune deficiency, an acquired immune deficiency, an autoimmune disorder, or an allergy?

4. Soon after a heart attack, damaged cardiac muscle tissues release small amounts of myosin into the surrounding tissue fluid. Considering this information, devise a way to use monoclonal antibodies to assess the extent of heart attack damage.

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