Role of complement proteins

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• Non-specific and specific defense mechanisms work through the functions of complement proteins. • As soon as pathogens penetrate the physical barrier of the skin, other resistance mechanisms begin. • Cells, such as macrophages, phagocytize pathogens. • These cells increase exposure of antigens (unique substance of the pathogens) to immune cells (T and B lymphocytes). • Exposure to antigens helps activate immune cells and leads to the production of antibodies. • Antibodies and antigens bind to form antigen-antibody complexes. • Complexes bind with complement proteins triggering a cascade of new complement proteins. • Complement proteins enhance: • Phagocytosis. • Cytolysis. • Inflammation. • Antigens are made more available to immune cells, which produce even more antibodies. • Antibodies bind to antigens forming even more complement proteins. • The activation of more and more complement proteins eventually produces a fully activated immune response.

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