Part 1 Immune System Overview | Immunonutrition in the Epigenetic Era: Interplay of the Innate and Acquired Immune System

Key Topics: Epigenetics
January 29, 2018 • 3 min read

The immune system protects the body from infection and disease throughout life. The ability to respond to pathogens is unique to each individual.

The immune system protects the body from infection and disease throughout life. The ability of an individual to respond to foreign substances and pathogenic microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses and fungi, is unique to each individual due to the complex nature of the two principal components of the immune system, the innate and the acquired immune system.

Each individual has unique exposure to foreign substances and pathogenic microorganisms from the environment and as a result the immune system of every person is unique, even though the cells, tissues and organs have the same immune machinery to respond to challenges. The role of epigenetic influences in modulating the immune system and propensity for disease will be explored in this monograph.

The focus of this series of articles is to briefly review the immune system components and integrate selected nutritional and epigenetic components that contribute to the immune system. This fascinating field of immunonutrition is a rapidly emerging science that continues to evolve as we learn more about the basic physiology of the complex immune system and the interplay of nutritional components to influence the outcome of challenges. The make-up of the immune system is constantly responding to challenges from the environment and yet, there are events in which the immune system begins to attack the body in a destructive process (autoimmunity) rather than the initial pathogenic insult. The immune system mounts a vigorous response to infectious and non-infectious agents in order to maintain homeostasis of the inflammatory process and optimize the return to a normal physiological state.

This series of articles will review the general role of the immune system in protecting the body from environmental insults and identify the key components that are engaged in the innate and acquired immune response. General topics covered include:

  1. Immune System Cascade: The Innate and Acquired Immune System with emphasis on how the system works and responds to antigenic stimuli and pathogens highlighting T-cell regulatory cells, autoimmunity, oral tolerance, macrophage activation, cytokine proteins and acute phase proteins, antigens and antibodies.
  2. Controls within the immune system cascade including the integration of the innate and acquired immune system with special emphasis on the role of microRNA in controlling various epigenetic aspects of immune function
  3. Updates on the topic of intestinal dysbiosis and strategies to support gut health
  4. The role of aging, exercise and diet on immune function with suggested guidance for inflammation associated with aging

The role of select nutritional factors that support the immune system function and ability to engage the inflammatory response to environmental challenges will be discussed.

  1. DNA, RNA, Nucleotides and nucleic acids, nutritional components
  2. Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Resolvins and gut microbiota
  3. microRNA (miRNA) and Microparticles that contain Morphogens

We invite you to learn more about immunonutrition and epigenetic control of the innate and acquired immune system.

Series Detail

Part 1: The Immune System:

  • Innate Immune System: Ready to Go as a First Responder in Immune Protection
  • Barriers of Infection in the Innate Immune System
  • Circulating Soluble Factors – Complement – Support First Responders
  • The Acquired Immune System: Develops with Pathogen Exposure

Part 2: Antigen-Antibody Binding and Effector Cytokine and Chemokine Response is Essential For Protection Against Antigens

  • Activation of B Cells to Make Antibody -Recognize Class II MHC Markers
  • Activation of T Cells: Helper (Recognize Class II MHC Markers)
  • Activation of T Cells: Cytotoxic (Recognize Class 1 MHC Markers)
  • Regulatory T Cells
  • Implications of the Antigen-Antibody Process for Future Clinical Application

Part 3: Differences between an Antigen and a Pathogen for Immune Function

  • Streptococcus – a bacterial pathogen
  • Lyme Disease – a tick-borne bacterial infection
  • Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) Proteins (Class I or Class II) Dictate the SubsequenT Engagement of the Innate Immune System and Trigger Different Responses
  • A Dysfunctional MHC HLA Complex May Predispose Individuals to Autoimmune Disease

Part 4: Autoimmunity: An Unhealthy Condition in Which the Immune System Attacks Its Own Healthy Cells and Tissues

Part 5: Nutrition is Essential for a Healthy Immune System

Part 6: Micro-RNA (miRNA) Non-Protein Coding Sequence: An Epigenetic Regulator of Gene Expression, Metabolic Homeostasis and Immune Function

  • MicroRNAs (miRNAs) Regulate Gene Expression and Immune Function
  • miRNA May be Delivered to Other Cells via Microparticles
  • Microparticles That Contain Cytokines are Involved in the Initiation and Resolution of Inflammation
  • Microparticles Involved in Immune Response Contain Morphogens that May be Involved in Wound Repair
  • miRNA is Involved in the Regulation of Many Cellular Processes
  • Dietary miRNAs are bioavailable from plants and foods of animal origin
  • miRNA Variants are Epigenetic Regulators in Cardiovascular Diseases
  • miRNA is a Crucial Regulator of Innate and Adaptive Immune System Function and Autoimmune Disease
  • MicroRNAs Are Regulators of Cancer Related Immunity in Solid Tumors

Part 7: Oral Tolerance to Foods (Foreign Particles) is a Local and Systemic Coordination of Immune Balance in the Gut

Part 8: Intestinal Dysbiosis Triggers an Inflammatory Response of the Immune System: Strategies to Support Gut Health

Part 9: The Role of Aging, Exercise and Diet on Immune Function: Clinical Implications and Relevance in Managing Patient Inflammation with Aging

Part 10: Implications for Clinicians in Support of a Healthy Immune System

Next Episode

Did you like this article?


Scientifically driven. Education focused. Healing Inspired.

Subscribe to Insights

Receive clinically driven nutrition insights you can trust.

Animated Newsletter WM

Join Our Community to Read Further

This is a premium article created for our Healthcare Practitioner readers. Create a free account to continue reading and gain full access.



WholisticMatters offers health care practitioners and nutrition enthusiasts alike the opportunity to create a free profile for access to site features like bookmarking. Enjoying an article you are reading or a video you are watching? Save it to come back to later! Sign up in seconds for continuous access to all that WholisticMatters has to offer.

WholisticMatters also offers health care practitioners who create a free user profile access to exclusive content and tools to utilize in clinical practice. Articles, tools, and downloads created specifically for practitioners to use in their office for better patient education in clinical nutrition and health. Sign up today with your email and credentials so we can confirm you as a health care practitioner, and you are free to peruse the resources unique to you and your colleagues in health.


Create Your Account:

show-pass Please use 8 or more characters with a mix of letters, numbers & symbols

Create a free account to use our great bookmarking tool

Once your account is created, you'll be able to save and organize what matters to you!

Already have an Account? Login Here

Click 'Sign Up' above to accept Wholistic Matters's Terms of Service & Privacy Policy.

Are you a Healthcare Professional? Sign Up For Free Access!

We'll verify your credentials and get you access to our great interactive tools.

Already have an Account? Login Here

Click 'Sign Up' above to accept Wholistic Matters's Terms of Service & Privacy Policy.