The Difference Between Humoral and Cell Mediated Immunity (thorough guide)

The core difference between humoral and cell mediated immunity resides in the immunity mechanism, in which the Humoral immunity manufactures antibodies to fight the antigens that are outside the contaminated cells or freely wandering in blood. Cell-mediated immunity employs within the contaminated/infected cell, where it knock down the pathogens by using the process called lysis by revealing cytokines.

Before jumping further into detail, let’s have a look at what actually immunity is?

Immunity is the ability or feature of an organism’s body that allows the body to perform defensive measures against toxins, pathogens, or harmful microorganisms. It includes non-specific as well as specific components of the body. The specific components adjust themselves according to each newly introduced ailment and accordingly manufacture pathogen oriented immunity. On the other hand non-specific components employ as a barrier or remover of wide pathogen types disregarding of their antigen makeup.


Humoral immunity gives instant acknowledgments to the pathogens, on the other hand, cell-mediated immunity is moderate in action. Both categories are components of the whole immune framework. Our immune system gives invulnerability and shelter from infectious particles, which is proposed by the host cell existing in the body.

immune system possesses complicated molecule networks, cells, and their synergies are intended to exterminate infectious particles from the body. The immunity is distributed into 2 varieties–adaptative and innate immunity.

let’s talk about innate and adaptative immunity.

Innate immunity operates as protective walls and expresses the ability of the organisms to defend facing any complication. While, the adaptative immunity serves as the most influential defense line mechanism within the body, which is familiarized for recognizing and slaying the particular infectious particles or any extraneous particles which are toxic.

The adaptative immunity or the acquired immunity presents 4 important features:

  1. Antigen specificity.
  2. Immunological memory.
  3. Recognition diversity.
  4. Discrimination among self and non-self.

Let’s jump on to how these terminologies distinguish from each other.

Difference Between Humoral and Cell-Mediated Immunity
humoral and cell mediated immunity diagram

Difference between humoral and cell mediated immunity one-by-one:

Humoral Immunity Cell Mediated Immunity
1. The type of immunity that is arbitrated by macromolecules observed in the outer cellular matrix liquids is known as humoral immunity. (The term humor a gothic term for body liquids/fluids) The immunity type that recognizes and demolish contaminated cells within the body is known as cell-mediated immunity.
2. As a mediator the primary cells that take part in this type of immunity are B-cells. As a mediator the primary cells that take part in this immunity are T-cells.
3. Components of this immunity include macrophages, B-cell, and t-cell. Components in this include macrophages, helper T-cells, cytotoxic T-cells, and natural destroyer cells.
4. It shelters from external toxic pathogens. It shelters from internal pathogens.
5. It possesses the pathogen detection ability as it identifies the pathogens or antigens that are wandering in the bloodstream or lymph. It acknowledges to any cell that presents Major Histo-compatibility Complex markers, including cell conquer by tumor cells, transplanted cells, or pathogens.
6. It possess antigen detectors in which antibodies and phagocytes themselves are utilized to identify antigen. MHC molecules and Receptors on the cell facades are utilized in the antigens detection.
7. Its Antigen binding protocol includes: B-cells manufactures antibodies and antigens that adhere to antigens. Antigen binding protocol includes: Receptors of T-cell on the cell surface adhere to T-cells which in turn adhere to antigens.
8. Antigen processing in it do not need antigen processing. Antigens must be treated & granted for T-lymphocyte mediated acknowledgment
9. Receptors that take part in it are: B-cell receptors or BCR. Receptors that take part in it are: T-cell receptors or TCR.
10. Accessory surface receptors are: Fc receptors, CD 40, CD 21, Igα, and Igβ. Accessory surface receptors are: CD2, CD3 molecular complex, CD4, CD8, CD28, Dimer of ∑ chain, and integrins.
11. The type of T-cell that take part in it is: T-helper cell (CD4+) The type of T-cells that take part in it are: CD4+ & CD8+
12. The antibodies formation takes place in a humoral reaction. The antibodies formation takes place in a cell mediated immune reaction.
13. The onset in this immunity is fast. The onset in this is slow
14. The final outcome of the activation  is the distinction of plasma B-cells, releasing antibodies. The finals outcome in its case is the cytokines emission.
15. It provides defense against viral or bacterial pathogens from external environment. It serves defense against viral & internal bacterial pathogens and fungus.

It does not serve for immunological scrutiny.

It serves for immunological scrutiny.
17. Type I, II, and III hypersensitivity are humoral immunity arbitrated. Only type IV hypersensitivity is arbitrated by the cell mediated immunity.
18. it may take part in quick graft refusal due to the antibodies that are preformed. It takes part in organ transplant rejection
19. It does not serve the defense or immunity against cancer. It demolish the cancerous & tumor cells , it come up with protection from cancer.

What is Humoral Immunity?

The Humoral Immunity is arbitrated by antigens or antibodies. It presents a expeditious acknowledgment in counter to toxins or pathogens. It is a crucial fortification protocol in opposite to external microbial entities attempting to hijack the whole host body framework.

Antibodies that are being manufactured by B-cells neutralize the microbes when get fuse with the antigens

.The humoral immune framework is a known process for the active immune framework and is combined with wandering antibodies in distinction to the cellular immune frmework.

Multiple antibodies exercises as a whole are an acknowledgment to fast antigen-particular B cells manufacturing while contamination/infection grows antibody titers with the magnified affinity for instigating factor and more directed and effective acknowledgment.

What is Cell Mediated immunity?

Cell Mediated Immunity is a cytotoxic T-cells & T-helper cells aided framework. In this cytokines that are released by T-helper cells stimulate phagocytic cells which are then utilized to phagocytose the toxins/pathigens and demolish them.

This type of immunity is an adaptative immune acknowledgment that never includes antibodies but it does includes the macrophages and NK cell stimulation and the antigen centric cytotoxic T-lymphocyte manufacturing and the several cytokines release in acknowledgment to a external antigen.

This immunity delivers a crucial part in the jurisdiction of rickettsia, virus, chlamydia, and protozoan contaminations such as trypanosomes as antibodies that cannot pierce and strike internal pathogens which get divide within the host machinery.

What is The Basic Function of Humoral and Cell-Mediated Immunity?

The notable function of humoral immunity is to sway wandering pathogens. Toxins/pathogens that progress throughout the body blood and lymph that are demolished by humoral immunity. The significant cells that take part in this immunity category are macrophages, CD 4+T-cells, and B-cells.

In case of cell mediated immunity, it functions to defend the body that attacks the cells. Cells that take role in this immunity category are macrophages, Cytotoxic T-cells, T-cells and NK cells.

These are the ultimate functions that both these immunity categories carry.

The Immune Response of Humoral and Cell Mediated Immunity:

Humoral immunity framework begins with the proactive antibodies manufacturing that work against the contamination or reinfection by usual pathogens or microorganisms for instance B-lymphocytes, staphylococci, and streptococci, which possess particular antigen response at the time they come to connect with the particular antigen by plasma cell manufacturing.

Plasma cells manufacture neural cells and antigen centric antibodies which authorize the body to speedily manufacture antibodies in the case the selfsame antigen pop tardly. The B-cell distinction is restorated by IL2 (interleukin-2) that is released by external antigens and CD4+ proceeded by macrophages

Antibodies that are manufactured using plasma B-cells are found mainly in the lymph nodes and blood spleen and they release antigens in certain ways. Some by switching on the supplement system and bacterial toxins and viral neutralization.

Another process is by surfacing antigen by making an antigen-antibody compound for phagocytosis activation which encourages stamping of antigen and inhibits antigen from fusing host cells.

The cell mediated immunity framework takes a distinct strategy under consideration than humoral immunity. The process shelter the body via listed activities:

  1. The acknowledgment begins by the stimulation of antigen-centric cytotoxic T-lymphocytes that can demolish body cells that present external antigen determinatives on their surface for instance cells along with internal cellular bacteria, cancer cells which present virally contaminated cells, and tumor antigens.
  2. Macrophages and NK cells are also stimulated by it that allow them to demolish internal toxins.
  3. The acknowledgment stimulates the cells to manufacture a great variety of cytokines that manage the other cells function included in the adaptative innate immune acknowledgments and immune acknowledgments.

The immunity cell mediated is directed fundamentally towards microorganisms that live phagocytes and contaminate non-phagocytic cells. It additionally takes part in the postponed rejection transplant.

Similarities Between Humoral and Cell Mediated Immunity?

Similarities between humoral and cell mediated immunity can as below:

  • Both are immunity categories.
  • Both own immunological protocols.
  • Both possess lag/straggle periods.
  • Both are a category of active immunity.
  • Both are not influential in individuals with immuno-deficit conditions.
  • Both are agile as opponents to a great range of toxins/pathogens.

Some Key Differences Between Humoral and Cell-Mediated Immunity:

The humoral immunity type performs a significant part in identifying any external pathogen or antigen in manufacturing antibodies in contrast to it. It is familiarized for it operation in response to toxins that are extracellular or came outside the cell environment.

HI is closely connected with macrophages, T-lymphocytes, and B-lymphocytes. On the other side the CMI is connected with macrophages, NK cells (natural killer cells), T-lymphocytes, and Helper T-cells.

HI is connected with the B-lymphocytes and is in charge of demolishing toxins by considering the antibody manufacturing in response to it, on the other hand, CMI is connected with T-lymphocytes and is accountable for demolishing toxin/pathogens/microbes that have hijacked the cell without antibodies manufacturing.

The HI is swift in their operations in response to antigens, on the other hand the CMI present slow operations in response to toxins/pathogens.

HI release antibodies to operate versus antigens. while CMI releases cytokines with no antibodies to fight toxins/pathogens.

CMI operates by recognizing viral particles and microbes with the association of T-lymphocytes, therefore demolishing them by considering the processes known as phagocytosis, pinocytosis, or cell lysis. It is familiarized for operating in response to internal pathogens.

HI take part in an early graft rejection stage because of the antibodies production in response to any external particle, while CMI takes part in organ transplant rejection following the specific time as they present late response.

HI arbitrates hypersensitivity type III, II, and I, on the other hand CMI is late in acknnowledgment and arbitrates type IV hypersensitivity.

Bonus info:

What is Active Immunity?

It is the immunity that occurs from the antibodies’ production against the antigen by the immune system. Active immunity happens after the immunization. It can be categorized into two types: Artificial immunity and Natural immunity.

Artificial immunity: the immunity type that takes action in response to vaccine (vaccination) by the development of antibodies.


The immunity that is activated by the injection of antibodies that are being developed within another person/organism. For instance snake antivenom & rabies vaccine.

Natural Immunity: the immunity type that takes action in response to infection by the development of antibodies.


For example, some people who become chickenpox contacted. After the infection that happens initially, the body starts developing immunity that is against the disease. this is the reason why people who have a history of chickenpox infection are immune to this disease for future.

Active immunity includes memory cell manufacturing and is ordinarily permanent. the organism is sheltered from disease throughout the lifespan.

The immunity results from the production of antibodies by the immune system in response to the presence of an antigen. Active immunity in the human body also takes place after immunization. Active immunity can be classified into two categories. These are


By going through all the stuff above, we can now conclude the differences between these two head term Humoral Immunity and Cell Mediated Immunity. Both are active immunity categories but have distinct operational protocols in knocking down toxins/pathogens, where antigen centric antibodies are manufactured instantly in response to the antigens, on the other hand cell mediated immunity the cell lysis prcoess is considered in demolishing pathogens.

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