Ozone & The Immune System - Part 1 A.J. Lanigan When we discuss oxytherapies, it is important multifaceted in the effects. Yes, ozone kills or oxidizes most things it touches on contact. In the body, getting contact with the "bad guys" is the trick. Over the years, this trick has eluded most. To realize that the bi-products of ozone creates a cascade of events that go beyond the mere O3 molecule's intial work. One of the _most_ important bi-product "events" is its effect on the immune system. When I was in the 6th grade, I took a Health class. I learned in that class, that red blood cells carried oxygen, platelets helped the blood to clot & the white blood cells protected us from disease. To understand ozone's part in this matter, we must understand the immune system. Here we go: The Immune System - Nonspecific Defense Mechanisms I. NONSPECIFIC DEFENSE MECHANISMS Nonspecific defense mechanisms help prevent entry and spread of harmful microorganisms into the body. Employs defensive cells and chemicals that do not distinguish between infectious agents (unlike the immune response, which is very specific). Includes skin and mucous membranes, defensive white blood cells, the inflammatory response and antimicrobial proteins. A.The Skin and Mucous Membranes 1.The skin acts as a barrier preventing entry of pathogens, and as a chemical barrier of anti-pathogen secretions. i.In humans, oil and sweat gland secretions acidify the skin (pH 3-5) and discourage microbial growth. ii.The normal bacterial flora of the skin (adapted to the acidity) may release acids and other metabolic wastes to further inhibit pathogen growth. iii.An enzyme in perspiration, tears, and saliva -- lysozyme -- attacks many bacterial cell walls. iv.In the digestive tract, stomach acid kills many bacteria. v.In the respiratory tract, nostril hairs filter inhaled particles and mucous traps microorganisms that are then swept out of the upper respiratory tract by cilia. B.Phagocytes and Natural Killer Cells 1.Microbes that penetrate the skin encounter amoeboid white blood cells capable of phagocytosis or cell lysis. 2.Macrophages wander through interstitial fluid phagocytosing bacteria, viruses and cell debris. i.Some reside permanently in an organ (are fixed in place). ii.Develop from monocytes, which migrate from capillaries into interstitial fluid. 3.Neutrophils are cells that become phagocytic in infected tissue. 4.Natural killer cells destroy the body's own infected cells, especially those harboring viruses. i.Also assault aberrant cells that could form tumors. ii.Are not phagocytic, but attack the membrane, causing cell lysis. C.The Inflammatory Response 1.The inflammatory response is triggered by damage to tissues caused by physical injury or by microbes. i.Small blood vessels near the injured site dilate and become leakier, causing the redness, heat and swelling associated with infection. ii.Migration of phagocytic white blood cells is enhanced. Neutrophils arrive first, followed by monocytes that develop into macrophages. 2.Pus = dead cells and fluid leaked from capillaries. 3.Clotting proteins pass into the interstitial fluid to seal off the infected area and begin the repair process. 4.Injured cells emit substances that aid in the inflammatory response. i.Histamine induces dilation of neighboring blood vessels. ii.Leukocytosis-inducing factor stimulates release of neutrophils from bone marrow. 5.The inflammatory response may include systemic reactions. i.Increase in number of circulating white blood cells. ii.Pyrogens induce a moderate fever that may stimulate phagocytosis and inhibit microbial growth. D.Antimicrobial Proteins A variety of proteins attack microbes directly or impede their reproduction. 1.Interferon i.Interferon = A substance produced by virus infected cells that helps other cells resist the virus. ii.In one type of interferon, viruses contact mammalian cells, turning on interferon genes. a.Interferon is produced and diffuses to neighboring cells, stimulating production of other anti-viral proteins. b.This defense is not virus-specific, but is host- specific. iii.Interferons may act against cancer since some tumors may be induced by viruses. a.One type mobilizes natural killer cells, which destroy tumor cells. b.May change malignant cell membranes, making them less likely to metastasize. c.Mediates the inflammatory response by activating macrophages. d.Stimulates the immune response. iv.One problem of interferon treatment is that it often gives patients flu-like symptoms (chills and fevers). 2.Complement i.Complement = A group of at least 20 proteins that interact with other branches of the body's defense network. a.Proteins circulate in the blood in inactive form. b.Some activated proteins amplify the inflammatory response by stimulating histamine release and attracting phagocytes. c.Some proteins coat invading microbes to facilitate phagocytosis by macrophages (opsonization). d.Some proteins aggregate to form a membrane attack complex which inserts into foreign cell membranes causing lysis. Now, the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat as well as environmental factors have much to do with the "bad guys" we come into contact with. Being concious (not paranoid) of this will go a long way to assist the immune system. Ozone can certainly play an important part as a "preventive".