1. A woman has been diagnosed with breast cancer and is being treated
aggressively with a chemotherapeutic regimen. As a result of this
regimen, she has an inability to fight infection due to the fact that
her bone marrow is unable to produce a sufficient amount of
The white blood cells involved in immunity (including lymphocytes) are produced in the bone marrow. Cytoblasts are the protoplasm of the cell outside the nucleus. Antibodies are produced by lymphocytes, but not in the bone marrow. Capillaries are small blood vessels
2. During a mumps outbreak at a local school, a patient, who is a
school teacher, is exposed. She has previously been immunized for
mumps. What type of immunity does she possess?
A) Acquired immunity
B) Natural immunity
C) Phagocytic immunity
D) Humoral immunity
Acquired immunity usually develops as a result of prior exposure to an antigen, often through immunization. When the body is attacked by bacteria, viruses, or other pathogens, it has three means of defense. The first line of defense, the phagocytic immune response, involves the WBCs that have the ability to ingest foreign particles. A second protective response is the humoral immune response, which begins when the B lymphocytes transform themselves into plasma cells that manufacture antibodies. The natural immune response system is rapid, nonspecific immunity present at birth.
3. A gardener sustained a deep laceration while working and requires
sutures. The patient is asked about the date of her last tetanus shot,
which is over 10 years ago. Based on this information, the patient
will receive a tetanus immunization. The tetanus injection will allow
for the release of what?
Immunizations activate the humoral immune response, culminating in antibody production. Antigens are the substances that induce the production of antibodies. Immunizations do not prompt cytokine or phagocyte production.
4. An infection control nurse is presenting an inservice reviewing
the immune response. The nurse describes the clumping effect that
occurs when an antibody acts like a cross-link between two antigens.
What process is the nurse explaining?
B) Cellular immune response
C) Humoral response
D) Phagocytic immune response
Agglutination refers to the clumping effect occurring when an antibody acts as a cross-link between two antigens. This takes place within the context of the humoral immune response, but is not synonymous with it. Cellular immune response, the immune system’s third line of defense, involves the attack of pathogens by T-cells. The phagocytic immune response, or immune response, is the system’s first line of defense, involving white blood cells that have the ability to ingest foreign particles.
5. A nurse has administered a child’s scheduled vaccination for
rubella. This vaccination will cause the child to develop which of the
A) Natural immunity
B) Active acquired immunity
C) Cellular immunity
D) Mild hypersensitivity
Active acquired immunity usually develops as a result of vaccination or contracting a disease. Natural immunity is present at birth and provides a nonspecific response to any foreign invader. Immunizations do not activate the process of cellular immunity. Hypersensitivity is not an expected outcome of immunization.
6. A patient with a history of dermatitis takes corticosteroids on a
regular basis. The nurse should assess the patient for which of the
following complications of therapy?
Corticosteroids such as prednisone can cause immunosuppression. Corticosteroids do not typically cause agranulocytosis, anemia, or low platelet counts.
7. A nurse is planning the assessment of a patient who is exhibiting
signs and symptoms of an autoimmune disorder. The nurse should be
aware that the incidence and prevalence of autoimmune diseases is
known to be higher among what group?
A) Young adults
B) Native Americans
Many autoimmune diseases have a higher incidence in females than in males, a phenomenon believed to be correlated with sex hormones.
8. A 16-year-old has been brought to the emergency department by his
parents after falling through the glass of a patio door, suffering a
laceration. The nurse caring for this patient knows that the site of
the injury will have an invasion of what?
B) Phagocytic cells
Monocytes migrate to injury sites and function as phagocytic cells, engulfing, ingesting, and destroying greater numbers and quantities of foreign bodies or toxins than granulocytes. This occurs in response to the foreign bodies that have invaded the laceration from the dirt on the broken glass.
9. A man was scratched by an old tool and developed a virulent
staphylococcus infection. In the course of the man’s immune response,
circulating lymphocytes containing the antigenic message returned to
the nearest lymph node. During what stage of the immune response did
A) Recognition stage
B) Proliferation stage
C) Response stage
D) Effector stage
The recognition stage of antigens as foreign by the immune system is the initiating event in any immune response. The body must first recognize invaders as foreign before it can react to them. In the proliferation stage, the circulating lymphocyte containing the antigenic message returns to the nearest lymph node. Once in the node, the sensitized lymphocyte stimulates some of the resident dormant T and B lymphocytes to enlarge, divide, and proliferate. In the response stage, the differentiated lymphocytes function either in a humoral or a cellular capacity. In the effector stage, either the antibody of the humoral response or the cytotoxic (killer) T cell of the cellular response reaches and connects with the antigen on the surface of the foreign invader.
10. A patient with cystic fibrosis has received a double lung
transplant and is now experiencing signs of rejection. What is the
immune response that predominates in this situation?
Most immune responses to antigens involve both humoral and cellular responses, although only one predominates. During transplantation rejection, the cellular response predominates over the humoral response. Neither a mitigated nor nonspecific cell response is noted in this situation.
11. A patient is being treated for bacterial pneumonia. In the first
stages of illness, the patient’s dyspnea was accompanied by a high
fever. Currently, the patient claims to be feeling better and is
afebrile. The patient is most likely in which stage of the immune
A) Recognition stage
B) Proliferation stage
C) Response stage
D) Effector stage
The immune response culminates with the effector stage, during which offending microorganisms are killed by the various actions of the immune system. The patient’s improvement in health status is likely the result of this final stage in the immune response.
12. The nurse is providing care for a patient who has multiple
sclerosis. The nurse recognizes the autoimmune etiology of this
disease and the potential benefits of what treatment?
A) Stem cell transplantation
B) Serial immunizations
D) Genetic engineering
Clinical trials using stem cells are under way in patients with a variety of disorders having an autoimmune component, including multiple sclerosis. Immunizations and genetic engineering are not used to treat multiple sclerosis. Immunosuppression would exacerbate symptoms of MS.
13. A patient’s injury has initiated an immune response that involves
inflammation. What are the first cells to arrive at a site of
B) Red blood cells
Neutrophils are the first cells to arrive at the site where inflammation occurs. Eosinophils increase in number during allergic reactions and stress responses, but are not always present during inflammation. RBCs do not migrate during an immune response. Lymphocytes become active but do not migrate to the site of inflammation.
14. A nurse is planning a patient’s care and is relating it to normal
immune response. During what stage of the immune response should the
nurse know that antibodies or cytotoxic T cells combine and destroy
the invading microbes?
A) Recognition stage
B) Proliferation stage
C) Response stage
D) Effector stage
In the effector stage, either the antibody of the humoral response or the cytotoxic (killer) T cell of the cellular response reaches and couples with the antigen on the surface of the foreign invader. The coupling initiates a series of events that in most instances results in total destruction of the invading microbes or the complete neutralization of the toxin. This does not take place during the three preceding stages.
15. The nurse should recognize a patient’s risk for impaired immune
function if the patient has undergone surgical removal of which of the
A) Thyroid gland
A history of surgical removal of the spleen, lymph nodes, or thymus may place the patient at risk for impaired immune function. Removal of the thyroid, kidney, or pancreas would not directly lead to impairment of the immune system.
16. A nurse is admitting a patient who exhibits signs and symptoms of
a nutritional deficit. Inadequate intake of what nutrient increases a
patient’s susceptibility to infection?
A) Vitamin B12
B) Unsaturated fats
D) Complex carbohydrates
Depletion of protein reserves results in atrophy of lymphoid tissues, depression of antibody response, reduction in the number of circulating T cells, and impaired phagocytic function. As a result, the patient has an increased susceptibility to infection. Low intake of fat and vitamin B12affects health, but is not noted to directly create a risk for infection. Low intake of complex carbohydrates is not noted to constitute a direct risk factor for infection.
17. A nurse has admitted a patient who has been diagnosed with
urosepsis. What immune response predominates in sepsis?
Most immune responses to antigens involve both humoral and cellular responses, although only one predominates. For example, during transplantation rejection, the cellular response predominates, whereas in the bacterial pneumonias and sepsis, the humoral response plays the dominant role. Neither mitigated nor nonspecific cell response is noted in this situation.
18. A patient is admitted with cellulitis and experiences a
consequent increase in white blood cell count. The nurse is aware that
during the immune response, pathogens are engulfed by white blood
cells that ingest foreign particles. What is this process known
C) Antibody response
D) Cellular immune response
During the first mechanism of defense, white blood cells, which have the ability to ingest foreign particles, move to the point of attack, where they engulf and destroy the invading agents. This is known as phagocytosis. The action described is not apoptosis (programmed cell death) or an antibody response. Phagocytosis occurs in the context of the cellular immune response, but it does not constitute the entire cellular response.
19. A nurse is reviewing a patient’s medication administration record
in an effort to identify drugs that may contribute to the patient’s
recent immunosuppression. What drug is most likely to have this
A) An antibiotic
B) A nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)
C) An antineoplastic
D) An antiretroviral
Chemotherapy affects bone marrow function, destroying cells that contribute to an effective immune response and resulting in immunosuppression. Antibiotics in large doses cause bone marrow suppression, but antineoplastic drugs have the most pronounced immunosuppressive effect. NSAIDs and antiretrovirals do not normally have this effect.
20. A patient requires ongoing treatment and infection-control
precautions because of an inherited deficit in immune function. The
nurse should recognize that this patient most likely has what type of
A) A primary immune deficiency
B) A gammopathy
C) An autoimmune disorder
D) A rheumatic disorder
Primary immune deficiency results from improper development of immune cells or tissues. These disorders are usually congenital or inherited. Autoimmune disorders are less likely to have a genetic component, though some have a genetic component. Overproduction of immunoglobulins is the hallmark of gammopathies. Rheumatic disorders do not normally involve impaired immune function.
21. A neonate exhibited some preliminary signs of infection, but the
infant’s condition resolved spontaneously prior to discharge home from
the hospital. This infant’s recovery was most likely due to what type
A) Cytokine immunity
B) Specific immunity
C) Active acquired immunity
D) Nonspecific immunity
Natural immunity, or nonspecific immunity, is present at birth. Active acquired or specific immunity develops after birth. Cytokines are proteins that mediate the immune response; they are not a type of immunity.
22. A gerontologic nurse is caring for an older adult patient who has
a diagnosis of pneumonia. What age-related change increases older
adults’ susceptibility to respiratory infections?
A) Atrophy of the thymus
B) Bronchial stenosis
C) Impaired ciliary action
D) Decreased diaphragmatic muscle tone
As a consequence of impaired ciliary action due to exposure to smoke and environmental toxins, older adults are vulnerable to lung infections. This vulnerability is not the result of thymus atrophy, stenosis of the bronchi, or loss of diaphragmatic muscle tone.
23. A nurse is explaining the process by which the body removes cells
from circulation after they have performed their physiologic function.
The nurse is describing what process?
A) The cellular immune response
Apoptosis, or programmed cell death, is the body’s way of destroying worn out cells such as blood or skin cells or cells that need to be renewed. Opsonization is the coating of antigen–antibody molecules with a sticky substance to facilitate phagocytosis. The body does not use phagocytosis or the cellular immune response to remove cells from circulation.
24. A patient is responding to a microbial invasion and the patient’s
differentiated lymphocytes have begun to function in either a humoral
or a cellular capacity. During what stage of the immune response does
A) The recognition stage
B) The effector stage
C) The response stage
D) The proliferation stage
In the response stage, the differentiated lymphocytes function in either a humoral or a cellular capacity. In the effector stage, either the antibody of the humoral response or the cytotoxic (killer) T cell of the cellular response reaches and connects with the antigen on the surface of the foreign invader. In the recognition stage, the recognition of antigens as foreign, or non-self, by the immune system is the initiating event in any immune response. During the proliferation stage the circulating lymphocytes containing the antigenic message return to the nearest lymph node.
25. A nurse is reviewing the immune system before planning an
immunocompromised patient’s care. How should the nurse characterize
the humoral immune response?
A) Specialized cells recognize and ingest cells that are recognized as foreign.
B) T lymphocytes are assisted by cytokines to fight infection.
C) Lymphocytesare stimulated to become cells that attack microbes directly.
D) Antibodies are made by B lymphocytes in response to a specific antigen.
The humoral response is characterized by the production of antibodies by B lymphocytes in response to a specific antigen. Phagocytosis and direct attack on microbes occur in the context of the cellular immune response.
26. A patient is undergoing testing to determine the overall function
of her immune system. What test can be performed to evaluate the
functioning of the patient’s cellular immune system?
A) Immunoglobulin testing
B) Delayed hypersensitivity skin test
C) Specific antibody response
D) Total serum globulin assessment
Cellular (cell-mediated) immunity tests include the delayed hypersensitivity skin test, since this immune response is specifically dependent on the cellular immune response. Each of the other listed tests assesses functioning of the humoral immune system.
27. Diagnostic testing has revealed a deficiency in the function of a
patient’s complement system. This patient is likely to have an
impaired ability to do which of the following?
A) Protecting the body against viral infection
B) Marking the parameters of the immune response
C) Bridging natural and acquired immunity
D) Collecting immune complexes during inflammation
Complement has three major physiologic functions: defending the body against bacterial infection, bridging natural and acquired immunity, and disposing of immune complexes and the byproducts associated with inflammation. Complement does not mark the parameters of the immune response; complement does not collect immune complexes during inflammation.
28. A patient’s current immune response involves the direct
destruction of foreign microorganisms. This aspect of the immune
response may be performed by what cells?
A) Suppressor T cells
B) Memory T cells
C) Cytotoxic T cells
D) Complement T cells
Cytotoxic T cells (also called CD8 + cells) participate in the destruction of foreign organisms. Memory T cells and suppressor T cells do not perform this role in the immune response. The complement system does not exist as a type of T cell.
29. A nurse is explaining how the humoral and cellular immune
responses should be seen as interacting parts of the broader immune
system rather than as independent and unrelated processes. What aspect
of immune function best demonstrates this?
A) The movement of B cells in and out of lymph nodes
B) The interactions that occur between T cells and B cells
C) The differentiation between different types of T cells
D) The universal role of the complement system
T cells interact closely with B cells, indicating that humoral and cellular immune responses are not separate, unrelated processes, but rather branches of the immune response that interact. Movement of B cells does not clearly show the presence of a unified immune system. The differentiation between types of T cells and the role of the complement system do not directly suggest a single immune system.
30. A nurse is caring for a patient who has had a severe
antigen/antibody reaction. The nurse knows that the portion of the
antigen that is involved in binding with the antibody is called
A) Antibody lock
B) Antigenic sequence
C) Antigenic determinant
D) Antibody channel
The portion of the antigen involved in binding with the antibody is referred to as the antigenic determinant. This portion is not known as an antibody lock, antigenic sequence, or antibody channel.
31. A patient is being treated for cancer and the nurse has
identified the nursing diagnosis of Risk for Infection Due to Protein
Losses. Protein losses inhibit immune response in which of the
A) Causing apoptosis of cytokines
B) Increasing interferon production
C) Causing CD4+ cells to mutate
D) Depressing antibody response
Depletion of protein reserves results in atrophy of lymphoid tissues, depression of antibody response, reduction in the number of circulating T cells, and impaired phagocytic function. This specific nutritional deficit does not cause T-cell mutation, an increase in the production of interferons, or apoptosis of cytokines.
32. A patient is vigilant in her efforts to “take good care of
herself” but is frustrated by her recent history of upper respiratory
infections and influenza. What aspect of the patient’s lifestyle may
have a negative effect on immune response?
A) The patient works out at the gym twice daily.
B) The patient does not eat red meats.
C) The patient takes over-the-counter dietary supplements.
D) The patient sleeps approximately 6 hours each night.
Rigorous exercise or competitive exercise—usually considered a positive lifestyle factor—can be a physiologic stressor and cause negative effects on immune response. The patient’s habits around diet and sleep do not present obvious threats to immune function.
33. The nurse is assessing a client’s risk for impaired immune
function. What assessment finding should the nurse identify as a risk
factor for decreased immunity?
A) The patient takes a beta blocker for the treatment of hypertension.
B) The patient is under significant psychosocial stress.
C) The patient had a pulmonary embolism 18 months ago.
D) The patient has a family history of breast cancer.
Stress is a psychoneuroimmunologic factor that is known to depress the immune response. Use of beta blockers, a family history of cancer, and a prior PE are significant assessment findings, but none represents an immediate threat to immune function.
34. The nurse is completing a focused assessment addressing a
patient’s immune function. What should the nurse prioritize in the
A) Percussion of the patient’s abdomen
B) Palpation of the patient’s liver
C) Auscultation of the patient’s apical heart rate
D) Palpation of the patient’s lymph nodes
During the assessment of immune function, the anterior and posterior cervical, supraclavicular, axillary, and inguinal lymph nodes are palpated for enlargement. If palpable nodes are detected, their location, size, consistency, and reports of tenderness on palpation are noted. Because of the central role of lymph nodes in the immune system, they are prioritized over the heart, liver, and abdomen, even though these would be assessed.
35. A patient’s exposure to which of the following microorganisms is
most likely to trigger a cellular response?
A) Herpes simplex
B) Staphylococcus aureus
C) Pseudomonas aeruginosa
D) Beta hemolytic Streptococcus
Viral, rather than bacterial antigens, induce a cellular response.
36. A patient was recently exposed to infectious microorganisms and
many T lymphocytes are now differentiating into killer T cells. This
process characterizes what stage of the immune response?
In the proliferation stage, T lymphocytes differentiate into cytotoxic (or killer) T cells, whereas B lymphocytes produce and release antibodies. This does not occur in the response, recognition, or effector stages.
37. The nurse knows that the response of natural immunity is enhanced
by processes that are inherent in the physical and chemical barriers
of the body. What is a chemical barrier that enhances the response of
A) Cell cytoplasm
B) Interstitial fluid
C) Gastric secretions
D) Cerebrospinal fluid
Chemical barriers, such as mucus, acidic gastric secretions, enzymes in tears and saliva, and substances in sebaceous and sweat secretions, act in a nonspecific way to destroy invading bacteria and fungi. Not all body fluids are chemical barriers, however. Cell cytoplasm, interstitial fluid, and CSF are not normally categorized as chemical barriers to infection.
38. A nursing student is giving a report on the immune system. What
function of cytokines should the student describe?
A) Determining whether a cell is foreign
B) Determining if lymphokines will be activated
C) Determining whether the T cells will remain in the nodes and retain a memory of the antigen
D) Determining whether the immune response will be the production of antibodies or a cell-mediated response
Separate subpopulations of helper T cells produce different types of cytokines and determine whether the immune response will be the production of antibodies or a cell-mediated immune response. Cytokines do not determine whether cells are foreign, determine if lymphokines will be activated, or determine the role of memory T cells.
39. A patient has undergone treatment for septic shock and received
high doses of numerous antibiotics during the course of treatment.
When planning the patient’s subsequent care, the nurse should be aware
of what potential effect on the patient’s immune function?
A) Bone marrow suppression
B) Uncontrolled apoptosis
C) Thymus atrophy
Large doses of antibiotics can precipitate bone marrow suppression, affecting immune function. Antibiotics are not noted to cause apoptosis, thymus atrophy, or lymphoma.
40. A patient’s recent diagnostic testing included a total lymphocyte
count. The results of this test will allow the care team to gauge what
aspect of the patient’s immunity?
A) Humoral immune function
B) Antigen recognition
C) Cell-mediated immune function
D) Antibody production
A total lymphocyte count is a test used to determine cellular immune function. It is not normally used for testing humoral immune function and the associated antigen–antibody.