The key difference between immunosuppression and immunodeficiency is that immunosuppression refers to the reduction of the efficiency of the immune system, while immunodeficiency refers to the inability of the immune system to fight against infectious agents.
The immune system detects a wide array of infectious agents entering our body and protects us from diseases. Therefore, it is the defence system in our body. It comprises of different types of immune cells. Immune system functions via two subsystems: innate immune system and adaptive immune system. In a healthy individual, the immune system works normal, and it prevents the occurrence of diseases. But when there are disorders in the immune system, it does not work actively. Immunodeficiency is such a condition in which the ability of the immune system to fight against diseases becomes low or absent; immunosuppression is another condition associated with the immune system in which efficiency of the immune system reduces.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Immunosuppression
3. What is Immunodeficiency
4. Similarities Between Immunosuppression and Immunodeficiency
5. Side by Side Comparison – Immunosuppression vs Immunodeficiency in Tabular Form
What is Immunosuppression?
Immunosuppression refers to the reduced efficiency of the immune system to fight against diseases. Immunosuppression can be created, or it can occur naturally. Some parts of the immune system can generate an immunosuppressive effect on the immune system due to adverse reactions to certain treatments. Therefore, the immune system stops its responses to antigens in the immunosuppression state. For example, in patients who have undergone organ transplantation, it is necessary to suppress the immune system in order to prevent the rejection of the transplanted organ. Therefore, these patients are given immunosuppressive drugs.
In addition, chemotherapy, corticosteroid usage, excessive use of certain medicines, hormonal therapy, infections of specific viruses and mutations in regulatory functions of the immune system are some factors causing immunosuppression in people.
What is Immunodeficiency?
Immunodeficiency refers to the inability of the immune system to defend the body against the diseases. Therefore, a person with immunodeficiency has a weakened immune system. The immune system of such people cannot function against infectious agents entering into the body. Thus, these people are prone to get diseases easily.
Immunodeficiency arises mainly due to immunodeficiency disorders. They can be congenital or acquired. Congenital disorders such as chronic granulomatous disease occur at birth while acquired disorders come later in life due to extrinsic factors. Acquired immunodeficiency disorders are more common than congenital disorders. They can occur due to HIV-AIDS, agammaglobulinemia, extremes of age, cancers, environmental factors, obesity, alcoholism, as well as some nutrition deprived states.
What are the Similarities Between Immunosuppression and Immunodeficiency?
- Both immunosuppression and immunodeficiency make the immune system weak.
- Therefore, our body loses the ability to fight against diseases on both occasions.
- Both states can arise due to cancers.
What is the Difference Between Immunosuppression and Immunodeficiency?
Immunosuppression is the reduction of the activation or efficiency of the immune system, while immunodeficiency is the inability of the immune system to fight against diseases. Thus, this is the key difference between immunosuppression and immunodeficiency. Furthermore, immunosuppression is deliberately induced, or natural while immunodeficiency may be due to congenital or acquired disorders. Another important difference between immunosuppression and immunodeficiency is that immunosuppression creates both beneficial and adverse effects while immunodeficiency always creates adverse effects.
Summary – Immunosuppression vs Immunodeficiency
Immunosuppression is the reduced efficiency of the immune system to work against the diseases. In contrast, immunodeficiency is the diminished ability of the immune system to fight against diseases. In both conditions, the immune system is weakened. It fails to defend our body against antigens. Immunosuppression can create beneficial effects as well as adverse effects, but immunodeficiency always creates adverse effects. This summarizes the difference between immunosuppression and immunodeficiency.
1.“Immune System.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 18 Aug. 2019, Available here.
2. Carey, Elea. “Immunodeficiency Disorders: Types, Symptoms, and Diagnosis.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 11 May 2019, Available here.