Antibodies Definition: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Rachel Torrens
The environment is full of invaders that want to get into your body and make you sick. In this lesson, learn about B cells and the antibodies they make to stop this from happening!

Defenses Up!

There is a place where many wars are being fought. No, I'm not talking about a country on the other side of the globe. Almost every day, a battle is going on in your own bloodstream!

The world is full of germs that would love to invade your body and make you sick. There are many types of invaders: bacteria, viruses, and even fungi!

By this point, you could be feeling a little worried. But don't worry because your body comes equipped with a built-in defense system! It's called the immune system. There are many parts to the immune system, but in this lesson, we're going to focus on B cells.

B cells, a specific type of white blood cell, are the soldiers in the immune system. They are responsible for recognizing invaders and defeating them! Let's learn more about this specialized task force.

Whose Antibody is This?

B cells circulate through your bloodstream looking for anything that doesn't belong. B cells recognize your own cells as friendly, and thus, they don't attack them.

However, every foreign invader has a specific appearance. The B cells memorize this appearance and make a protein that's able to defeat the invader. An antibody, also known as an immunoglobulin, is a Y-shaped protein made by B cells. Antibodies are able to bind to invaders and neutralize them!

The Y-shaped antibodies bind to the outside of an invader, marking it for destruction.
Antibody binding to an invader

Now, as if this isn't cool enough, after the B cells have defeated the invader, they don't forget the invader's appearance ever. Like forever. Once a B cell has recognized something as foreign and produced antibodies to it, your body will be able to fight off that specific invader for the rest of your life!

A Momentary Ouch to Prevent a Major Illness

So, that's why sometimes when you go to the doctor and are perfectly healthy, you still get a shot! That shot is a vaccination.

A vaccination is an injection of fake invaders. Scientists have taken the invader and made it harmless on the inside. However, the outside still looks like the real invader.

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