The immune system

Published:September 11, 2018DOI:


      This article intends to provide an up-to-date overview of the relevant physiology required to pass the FRCA. The immune system is our defence against pathogens. This includes the recognition of non-self organisms, and protection through a variety of non-specific and highly specific mechanisms. Failure of the immune system leads to immunodeficiency or immunopathology either may be catastrophic for the host.


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        • Kieser K.J.
        • Kagan J.C.
        Nat Rev Immunol. 2017; 17: 376-390
        • Cook T.M.
        • Harper N.J.N.
        Anaesthesia, surgery and life-threatening reactions. RCoA 6th National Audit Project: perioperative anaphylaxis.
        Royal College of Anaesthetists, May 2018 (Accessed online at)
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        Curr Opin Anaesthesiol. 2016; 29: 468-474

      Further reading

        • Actor J.K.
        Elsevier's integrated review immunology and microbiology.
        2nd Edition. Elsevier Saunders, 2012
        • Kennedy K.
        • Dixit T.
        Anaesthesia tutorial of the week. Basic science tutorial 323. Immunology for Anaesthetists. Part 1 – basic immunology.
        World Federation of Society of Anaesthesiologists, December 2015 (accessed January 2018)
      1. Kennedy K. Dixit T. Anaesthesia tutorial of the week. Basic science tutorial 328. Immunology for Anaesthetists. Part 2 – hypersensitivity reactions. World Federation of Society of Anaesthesiologists. (accessed January 2018).

      2. RCOA Annex B, Basic Level Training. Physiology and Biochemistry. Haematology and Immunology.