Basic Immunology: Functions and Disorders of the Immune System, 5e

In this updated edition of Basic Immunology, the authors continue to deliver a clear, modern introduction to immunology, making this the obvious choice for today’s busy students. Their experience as teachers, course directors, and lecturers helps them to distill the core information required to understand this complex field. Through the use of high-quality illustrations, relevant clinical cases, and concise, focused text, it’s a perfectly accessible introduction to the workings of the human immune system, with an emphasis on clinical relevance.

  • Concise, clinically focused content is logically organized by mechanism for efficient mastery of the material.
  • Features an appendix of clinical cases and CD molecules.
  • Includes numerous full-color illustrations, useful tables, and chapter outlines.
  • Focus questions within each chapter are ideal for self-assessment and review.
  • Key points bolded throughout the text make it easy to locate important information.
  • Presents information in a format and style that maximizes usefulness to students and teachers studying medicine, allied health fields, and biology.
  • Fully updated content equips you with the latest relevant advances in immunology.
  • Revised and updated artwork enhances your visual learning of important principles and reduces the excessive factual details found in larger textbooks.
  • Twelve brand-new animations available on Student Consult help further explain complex concepts.
  • Student Consult eBook version included with purchase. This enhanced eBook experience gives you access to the text, figures, images, glossary of immunology terms, self-assessment questions, and references on a variety of devices.


  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Elsevier; 5 edition (November 16, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 032339082X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0323390828
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
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6 thoughts on “Basic Immunology: Functions and Disorders of the Immune System, 5e”

  1. Sufficiently well written and concise that I read and annotated the entire book within the first week of my immunology course. It’s well-organized and at a proper level of depth; in fact, after comparing the course syllabus and lectures to this textbook, I have completely ignored the course materials in favor of using the text (disclosure: I took an immunology course in undergrad). It is clear that some topics are only superficially covered, but in every instance, a deeper level of detail would be excessive for medical student purposes. This book sets out with a particular goal in mind (discussed in the preface), and it does exactly that — no more, no less. Highly recommended.

    Update: Crushed the final for my course, beating the mean by over 1 standard deviation. Your mileage may vary, but I attribute a lot of my understanding of immunology to this book.

  2. This is a favorite book of many medical students. Unlike most immunology textbooks, Basic Immunology has been written for its target audience, medical students. The authors do not target undergraduates or graduate students as they have another text for those groups. The writing is clear and the figures well planned. The book is a reasonable length (<300 pages), and it is small in size (the page size is about 70% of a normal full sized text).

    The book covers the major topics in immunology without becoming mired in this complicated discipline. It is broken into major headings and the key concept of each paragraph is usually bolded. Students like these features because they can skim for the content that they are need. The combination of these points make the book useable in the context of a fast-paced, medically-oriented course. While this book is not a good choice for reviewing for boards, it works well in the context of a course.

    I will point out that this book has a non traditional structure. Certain components of T cells and B cells are combined. Some medical school courses use that format while others still do T cells and B cells separately. I have been involved with courses that teach T cells and B cells separately, but the students still seem to find this book helpful.

    While the focus of my reviews on the structure and usablity of the book (as it is usually the focus of medical students), I find the book up-to-date and of an appropriate depth.

  3. Very helpful text, with many clear and concise diagrams. I thought it provided pretty clear coverage of the material we needed to know as a first year medical student. Helps that the guy who wrote it was my teacher.

  4. The book is organized well and would seem to offer a great explanation of immunology, other than the fact that the author’s writing style is very wordy and kind of weird in my opinion. I don’t really understand sentences fully the first time I read them, and not because of the content but because of how it is written. I think it’s a very passive and wordy writing style. That’s just my opinion though. It seem to be a great book, but I don’t like his sentence structure and word order. I’ll give an example:

    On page 13, the author gives an overview on how antigens are presented to T cells and B cells. In the first few sentences, he says that specialized cells present antigens to T cells. In the next few, he addresses how antigens are presented to B cells like this: “Less is known about cells that may capture antigens for display to B lymphocytes. B lymphocytes may directly recognize the antigens of microbes (either released or on the surface of the microbes), or macrophages lining the lymphatic channels may capture antigens and display them to B cells.” The use of the word ‘may’ makes it seem like it is not understood how antigens are presented to B cells, and they may do this or they may do that, we don’t know. But you later find out that they do both (at least as far as I know), and the author probably should have used the word ‘can,’ as in they can do this or they can do that, but we don’t know a lot about it.

    I’d suggest reading a little bit of the book in the preview to see if you like it. If you do like the writing style, the book is great. Everything is laid out well and its all good information with great explanations without any fluff.

    Edit: I’ve read more of the book now, and I like it a lot more.Read more ›

  5. I have been struggling to find a source that is comprehensive enough to prepare me for USMLE while not overwhelming me with information, and I am happy to say that this book is just the right one. Dr. Abbas does a great job of presenting the information in a way that is understandable while making sure that the level of content is appropriate for a medical student. If you are a graduate student in immunology this book would be too basic, but for medical students with little background in the subject, it works really well.

  6. This book is a good compromise in the sense that it has enough content to prepare students well for medical school but does not overwhelm them with detail. It is a great package together with Abbas’s bigger Immunology book – use this for undergrad studies and then move to the bigger “Cellular and molecular immunology” for grad studies.

    The only reason I give it only 4 stars is that it is not as easy to read as the Kuby or Janeway. The Abbas tends to mention complex subjects that have not been explained, and then throws in a short definition of these. This makes it more difficult to read, but it is also more concise than the Kuby and Janeway. I don’t think this is a problem, but I can see that my students might find that difficult.

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