The Immune System Explained I – Bacteria Infection


Every second of your life, you are under attack. Billions of bacteria, viruses, and fungi are trying to make you their home. So our bodies have developed a super complex little army with guards, soldiers, intelligence, weapons factories, and communicators to protect you from…well…dying For this video, let’s assume the immune system has 12 different jobs. For example, kill enemies, communicate, etc. And it has 21 different cells and 2 protein forces These cells have up to 4 different jobs. Let’s assign them. Here are the interactions. Now, let’s make this understandable. First of all, let’s add colors to the jobs. Now let’s illustrate the cells. The central color represents the main job of the cell. While the surrounding ones represent secondary duties. Now the immune system looks like this. Now the interactions. Isn’t this complexity just awesome? For this video we will only talk about these cells and ignore the rest. So, what happens in the case of an infection? It’s a beautiful day, when suddenly, a wild rusty nail appears and you cut yourself. The first barrier of the immune system is breached: your skin. Nearby bacteria seize on the opportunity and enter your wound. They start using up the body’s resources and double their numbers about every 20 minutes. At first, they fly under the radar, but when a certain bacteria population is reached They change their behavior and start to damage the body by changing the environment around them. The immune system has to stop them as fast as possible. First of all, your guard cells, known as macrophages, intervene. They are huge cells that guard every border region of the body. Most of the time, they alone can suffocate an attack because they can devour up to 100 intruders each. They swallow the intruder whole and trap it inside a membrane. Then the enemy gets broken down by enzymes and is killed. On top of that, they cause inflammation by ordering the blood vessels to release water into the battlefield so fighting becomes easier. You notice this as a very mild swelling. When the macrophages fight for too long, they call in heavy backup by releasing messenger proteins that communicate location and urgency. Neutrophils leave their patrol routes in the blood and move to the battlefield. The neutrophils fight so furiously that they kill healthy cells in the process. On top of that, they generate barriers that trap and kill the bacteria. They are, indeed, so deadly that they evolved to commit suicide after five days to prevent them from causing too much damage. If this is not enough to stop the invasion, the brain of the immune system kicks in. The dendritic cell gets active, it reacts to the signals of the soldiers and starts collecting samples from the enemies. They rip them into pieces and present the parts on their outer layer. Now the dendritic cell makes a crucial decision. Should they call for anti-virus forces that eradicate infected body cells… or an army of bacteria killers? In this case, anti-bacteria forces are necessary. It then travels to the closest lymph node in about a day. Here, billion of helper and killer T cells are waiting to be activated. When T cells are born they go trough a difficult and complicated training process and only a quarter survives. The surviving cells are equipped with a specific set-up. And the denditric cell is on its way looking for a helper T cell with the set-up that’s just right. It’s looking for a helper T cell that can bind the parts of the intruders which the dendritic cell has presented on its membrane. When it finally finds one, a chain reaction takes place. The helper T cell is activated, it quickly duplicates thousands of times. Some become memory T cells that stay in the lymph node and will make you practically immune against this enemy, Some travel to the field of battle to help out. And the third group goes on to travel to the center of the lymph node to activate a very powerful weapons factory. Like the T cells, they are born with a specific set-up and when a B cell and a T cell with the same set-up meet, hell breaks loose. The B cell duplicates rapidly and starts producing millions of little weapons. They work so hard that they will literally die from exhaustion very fast. Here helper T cells play another important role, they stimulate the hard working factories and tell them: “Don’t die yet, we still need you, keep going!” This also ensures that the factories die if the infection is over so the body doesn’t waste energy or hurt itself. But what is produced by the B cells? You’ve heard of them of course, antibodies, Little proteins that are engineered to bind to the surface of the specific intruder. There are even different kinds of antibodies that have slightly different jobs. The helper T cells tell the plasma cells which type is needed the most in this particular invasion. Millions of them flood the blood and saturate the body. Meanwhile, at the site of infection, the situation is getting dire. The intruders have multiplied in number and start hurting the body. Guard and attack cells fight hard, but also die in the process. Helper T cells support them by ordering them to be more aggressive and to stay alive longer. But without help they can’t overwhelm the bacteria. But now, the second line of defense arrives. Billions of antibodies flood the battlefield and disable lots of the intruders, rendering them helpless or killing them in the process. They also stun the bacteria and make them an easy target. Their back is built to connect to killer cells, so they can connect and kill the enemy more easily, Macrophages are especially good at nomming up the bacteria which antibodies have attached to. Now the balance shifts, in a team effort, the infection is wiped out. At this point, millions of body cells have already died, no big deal, the losses are quickly replenished. Most immune cells are now useless and without the constant signals they commit suicide, so as not to waste any resources. But some stay behind: the memory cells. If this enemy is encountered ever again in the future, they will be ready for it and probably kill it before you even notice. This was a very, very simplified explanation of parts of the immune system at work. Can you imagine how complex this system is, even at this level, when we ignore so many players and all the chemistry. Life is awfully complicated, but if we take the time to understand it, we’ll encounter endless wonders and great beauty.

100 thoughts on “The Immune System Explained I – Bacteria Infection

  1. There's brand new stuff in the Kurzgesagt Merch Shop. Check it out here: shop.kurzgesagt.org

  2. This video made made me feel proud of my immune system ! I love u all my immune system cells 😘😘😘😂

  3. Macrophages are especially good at GNOMING up the bacteria which antibodies have latched on to

  4. bacteria, virus and fungi: attack the body

    the immune system: im about to end this mans whole career

  5. When u watch cells at work Anime and now u understand more than the video 🤣🤣🤣

  6. Hey immune system where were you before antibiotics? Phages and antibiotics are doing your job.

  7. Love this video, can you make more about the immune system/body/viruses please?

  8. hey i really love ur videos. watching as well as listening. i was wondering if u guys had a proper show like on netflix or tat u could download?

  9. Wow! This still holds up pretty wall today, but you have come a LONG way in terms of script. topics and visuals. Thank you Kurzgesagt for always trying to improve- even though most would've considered this to be "good enough".

  10. Imagine if someone made a strategy management video game from this? 0_0

    I would be so addicted to it

  11. How biology on the immune system reveals the battlefield strategy in WW2

  12. While we are amazed how these cells work just to protect us, why aren't we wondering who made these complicated system? Don't tell me it's just a product of chances that took place a million years ago. It's impossible for that without supreme Creator engineered and designed it.

  13. At 4:47, the term 'plasma cells' is used first time without specifying that a plasma cell is effector/ activated B cell. Just an observation. Very informative video. Thanks.

  14. Is it possible to make an unsimplified version of this video?
    I want to learn more about body cells fighting.

  15. Dont worry the our immune systems have back ups… The most deadly being on earth the bacteriophage 😊

  16. I once cut a little spot on my thumb and i leave it that way till tomorow.i didn't know my cells was having world war in my body

  17. I would love to see a non simplified version of this video. I love the way you guys explain things.

  18. I realized that on the subtitle, at 3:20 or near, it says trough instead of through

    Please fix this Kurtzgesagt

  19. 4:13 is it just me or is there an illusion where the cell looks like it’s shrinking

  20. Here watching this video while I have cold to sort of understand what is going on.
    Honestly, it's weird but after watching this I'm proud of my body. ❤

  21. Just to let you know this helped me a lot with my science assignment!!!

  22. Who needs "the art of war" when our bodies have already mastered it. Amazing!

  23. me: scrapes nee

    me: ah it stings but ill tough it out

    immune system: CHARGE!!!!!!!

  24. Nail rips through skin and into the foot.

    Bacteria: YAY ANOTHER BODY TO TAKE OVER!!!
    Bacteria: Goes inside body

    Body: INTRUDER ALARM GOES OFF
    White blood cells: GO! GO! GO! WE HAVE AN INTRUDER GET RID OF THEM! EITHER KILL THEM OR CHASE THEM OUT!

    Human: OUCH I got a cut!
    Human: Takes bandaid and sticks it on cut.
    Human: There Everything will be fine

    White blood cells: NO NOT EVERYTHING WILL BE FINE!!!!!

  25. Hey Kurzgesagt? I'm a NOBODY, but I'm hoping so hard for you to make a video about the Pathophysiology of Dengue Fever. The death toll back in my motherland, the Philippines, is getting higher, and videos like the ones that you do can be used to spread awareness. Please??? Can you guys here in comment section help me to reach the Kurzgesagt team?? 😭😭😭😭

  26. 2:44 I never knew I had a egg in my system. Wow you really do learn something new everyday

  27. Cells are badass, their honor and bravery is amazing, NO ILLEGAL VIRUS ALLOWED!
    Body Defense Force!

  28. Damn, didn’t even know world war was happening inside.
    I’ve never been so proud of my body

  29. The bacteria goes in to your body,The immune system does some weird crap to defend it
    A simple Solution
    To a Complex Problem

  30. Bacteria:*Enter the body*
    Immune System:You choosed the wrong h̶o̶u̶s̶e̶ body fool!!!!!

  31. B cell: we need backup

    T cells: (tierd)

    memory cells: ok B cell

    bacteria: not so fast

    T cell: what the? whats going on

    virgin B cells: i am a weapon factory and i will summon anti bodies

  32. Wow, I thought no one loves me but these little guys are fighting to keep me alive 😭😭😭❤️

  33. If anyone knows, feel free to reply! Doesn't the brain get involved when the immune response occurs?

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