Difference Between Humoral and Cell-Mediated Immunity

The induced immunity in organisms by the exposure of antigens is known as active immunity. The active immunity is mediated by two distinct mechanisms:

  • Cell-mediated Immunity
  • Humoral Immunity.

Both the immune pathways are different in their targets, components and methods of destroying pathogens.

Read on to explore what is humoral immunity and cell-mediated immunity and the difference between the two.

Humoral Immunity vs Cell-mediated Immunity

The difference between humoral and cell-mediated immunity is given below in a tabular column.

Cell-mediated Immunity

Humoral Immunity

It is mediated by T-cells.

It is mediated by B-cells.
No formation of antibodies.

Formation of antibodies.

Receptors are used to detect antigens.

Antibodies are used to detect antigens.
T-cell receptors bind to the T-cell and the T-cells bind to the antigens.

The antibodies produced by B-cells bind to the antigen.

It protects against virus, fungi and other intracellular bacterial pathogens. 

It protects against extracellular virus and bacteria.
It can eliminate tumour cells and thus protects against cancer.

It cannot eliminate tumour cells.

Both CD4+ and CD8+ cells are involved in cell-mediated immunity.

Only TH cells are involved in humoral immunity.
Mediates hypersensitivity type IV.

Mediates hypersensitivity I, II and III.

It shows delayed response.

It is quick in response.

Humoral Immunity

Humoral immunity is mediated by antibodies. It shows a quick response against pathogens. It is the major defence mechanism against extracellular microbes trying to invade the host systems. The antibodies produced by the B-cells bind to the antigens and neutralize the microbes.

Cell-Mediated Immunity

Cell-mediated immunity is facilitated by the T-helper and cytotoxic T-cells. Cytokines secreted by the T- helper cells activate phagocytic cells which phagocytose the pathogens and kill them.

Similarities between Cell-mediated and Humoral Immunity

Following are the similarities between cell-mediated and humoral immunity:

  • Both humoral and cell-mediated immunity are active immunities.
  • Both have a lag period.
  • Both are active against a wide variety of pathogens.
  • Both possess immunological memories.
  • Both the systems are not effective in immune-deficient individuals.

These were a few differences between humoral and cell-mediated immunity. To know more about the difference between humoral and cell-mediated immunity, keep visiting BYJU’S website or download BYJU’S app for further reference.

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