Difference between Innate Immunity and Adaptive Immunity – Comparison Table

Innate vs Adaptive Immunity

Difference between Innate and Adaptive Immunity: The main function of immune system in our body is to prevent or resist infections by pathogenic microorganisms. The immune system in an organism is initiated with the recognition of the invading microorganism.

The immunity against the invading microbes shown by our body can be grouped into two broad categories – (1) Innate Immunity and (2) Adaptive Immunity. These two immune systems act together to defend the body against infections and diseases.

(1). Innate Immunity:

It is also called the Native Immunity. Innate immunity is the nonspecific resistance that an individual possesses by birth. This immune system operates through physical barriers such as skin, chemical in the blood and by immune cells. The innate immunity is due to the genetic makeup of the organism and it does not require the prior contact with microorganisms. The innate immunity acts as the very first level of defense system in our body.

(2). Adaptive Immunity:

It is also called as Acquired Immunity or Antigen Specific Immunity. It is the specific resistance acquired by an individual during its life and it is mediated by B- and T- lymphocytes after exposure to specific antigen. The adaptive immune system is characterized by the formation of antibodies (immunoglobulins) and immunological memory.

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The following table compares the difference between Innate (Native) Immunity and Acquired (Adaptive) Immunity.

Difference between Innate and Adaptive Immunity

Sl. No.Innate Immunity
(Native Immunity)
Adaptive Immunity
(Acquired Immunity)
1Definition: The resistance to microbial infection that an individual possess by virtue of its genetic makeup.Definition: The resistance acquired by an individual during its life.
2Innate immunity is classified into specific and non-specific immunity.Adaptive immunity is classified into Active and Passive immunity.
3Innate immunity is orchestrated through phagocytes (Macrophages, and Neutrophils) and Natural Killer cells.Adaptive immunity is orchestrated through Lymphocytes.
4The antimicrobial system of the innate immunity is shown by complement, leukins, plakins, lactic acid, lactoperoxidase and interferonThe antimicrobial system of the Adaptive immune system is shown by antibodies (immunoglobulins).
5Skin and mucosal epithelia acts as the physical barriers in innate immunity.Lymphocytes in the epithelia acts ash the physical barriers in Adaptive immunity.
6Antimicrobial chemical acts as the chemical barriers.Antibodies secreted by B-cells acts as the chemical barrier.
7No immunological memory.Possess immunological memory.
8Repeated exposures bring response like primary response due to the absence of memory.The secondary response is much quicker due the presence of immunological memory.
9Specificity is very less.Specificity is very high.
10Shows specificity for structures shared by groups of related microbes.Shows specificity towards the antigens (microbial or non-microbial).
11Innate immunity develops very quickly (within hours).Adaptive immunity requires many days to develop.
12Potency of innate immunity is comparatively very less.The potency of adaptive immunity is very high.
13Innate immunity is genetically fixed and thus it can be transferred to progeny.Adaptive immunity is not genetically fixed and thus it cannot be transferred to the progeny.
14Innate immunity is always kept on.Adaptive immunity is usually kept silent, switched on when it contacts a foreign antigen.

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