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Organs Blood Cells


Basophils are a type of white blood cell. Although they’re produced in the bone marrow, they’re found in many tissues throughout your body. They’re part of your immune system and play a role in its proper function. Your body naturally produces several different types of white blood cells. White blood cells work to keep you healthy by fighting off viruses, bacteria, parasites, and fungi. If your basophil level is low, it may be due to a severe allergic reaction. Whether you scrape yourself during a fall or develop an infection from a wound, you can count on your basophils help to get you healthy again. In addition to fighting parasitic infections, basophils play a role in Preventing blood clotting: Basophils contain heparin. This is a naturally occurring blood-thinning substance. Basophils also help with Mediating allergic reactions: In allergic reactions, the immune system is exposed to an allergen. Basophils release histamine during allergic reactions. Basophils are also thought to play a role in causing the body to produce the antibody called immunoglobulin E. This antibody then binds to basophils and a similar type of cell called mast cells. These cells release substances such as histamines and serotonin. They mediate the inflammatory response in the area of your body that was exposed to the allergen. Basophils account for less than three percent of your white blood cells. You should have 0 to 300 basophils per microliter of blood. Keep in mind that blood test normal ranges can vary from lab to lab. Blood testing is the only way to discover whether your basophils are abnormal. There typically aren’t any exact symptoms tied to an abnormal level, and doctors rarely order a test just for a basophil count. If you develop an infection, it may take longer to heal. In some cases, having too many basophils can result from certain blood cancers.     Source



A macrophage is a large white blood cell that is an important part of our immune system. The word ‘macrophage’ literally means ‘big eater.’ It’s an amoeba-like organism, and its job is to clean our body of microscopic debris and invaders. A macrophage has the ability to locate and ‘eat’ particles, such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. Macrophages are born from white blood cells called monocytes, which are produced by stem cells in our bone marrow. Monocytes move through the bloodstream and when they leave the blood, they mature into macrophages. They live for months, patrolling our cells and organs and keeping them clean. A macrophage uses a process called phagocytosis to destroy and get rid of unwanted particles in the body. Phagocytosis literally means ‘eat cell.’ as the macrophage engulfs the particle, a pocket called a phagosome is formed around it. Then, enzymes are released into the phagosome by an organelle within the macrophage called a lysosome. Much like the enzymes in our own stomach are released to digest our food, the enzymes released by the lysosome digest the particle. The remaining debris, or what is left of the particle, exits the macrophage to be absorbed back into the body.      Source



Lymphocytes are a type of white blood cell that function as part of the immune system. Their various functions allow them to properly respond to foreign invaders in the body. Some lymphocytes work alone, while others are able to coordinate with other cells. There are three types of lymphocytes, known as T cells, B cells, and natural killer cells. T cells get their name because they are developed in the thymus gland. These cells are distinguished from other lymphocytes by the specialized T-cell receptor molecule that is located on the surface of the cell. This molecule is important in immunity because it recognizes antigens and is able to bind to them. B cells are an important part of the immune system. B cells get their name because they mature in the bone marrow of humans, and in the bursa organ of birds. These cells are distinguished from other lymphocytes by a protein on their surface known as the B-cell receptor. This protein is specialized to recognize and attach to specific antigens. Natural killer cells are lymphocytes that are known to be cytotoxic. This means that they have the ability to kill other cells. These cells are an important part of the immune system because they are able to recognize virally infected cells, as well as some types of tumor cells, and kill them before they cause a great amount of harm. All lymphocytes function as a part of our immune defense.      Source



Monocytes are a type of white blood cell that fights off bacteria, viruses and fungi. Monocytes are the biggest type of white blood cell in the immune system. Originally formed in the bone marrow, they are released into our blood and tissues. When certain germs enter the body, they quickly rush to the site for attack. Monocytes have several functions to help you ward off diseases and infections. Monocytes have the ability to change into another cell form called macrophages before facing the germs. They can actually consume, or munch, on harmful bacteria, fungi and viruses. Then, enzymes in the monocyte’s body kill and break down the germs into pieces. Monocytes have the ability to change into another cell form called macrophages before facing the germs. They can actually consume, or munch, on harmful bacteria, fungi and viruses. Then, enzymes in the monocyte’s body kill and break down the germs into pieces. Monocytes help other white blood cells identify the type of germs that have invaded the body. After consuming the germs, the monocytes take parts of those germs, called antigens, and mount them outside their body like flags. Other white blood cells see the antigens and make antibodies designed to kill those specific types of germs. Monocytes help mend damaged tissue by stopping the inflammation process. They remove dead cells from the sites of infection, which repairs wounds. They have also shown to influence the formation of some organs, like the heart and brain, by helping the components that hold tissues together.       Source



Platelets are only about 20% of the diameter of red blood cells.  The normal platelet count is 150,000-350,000 per microliter of blood, but since platelets are so small, they make up just a tiny fraction of the blood volume.  The principal function of platelets is to prevent bleeding. Platelets are produced in the bone marrow, the same as the red cells and most of the white blood cells.  Platelets are produced from very large bone marrow cells called megakaryocytes.  As megakaryocytes develop into giant cells, they undergo a process of fragmentation that results in the release of over 1,000 platelets per megakaryocyte. 

Platelets are also the lightest. Therefore, they are pushed out from the center of flowing blood to the wall of the blood vessel.  There they roll along the surface of the vessel wall, which is lined by cells called endothelium.  The endothelium is a very special surface, like Teflon, that prevents anything from sticking to it.  However, when there is an injury or cut, and the endothelial layer is broken, the tough fibers that surround a blood vessel are exposed to the liquid flowing blood.  It is the platelets that react first to injury.  The tough fibers surrounding the vessel wall and attract platelets like a magnet then platelets clump onto these fibers, providing the initial seal to prevent bleeding, the leak of red blood cells and plasma through the vessel injury. Platelets are actually not true cells but merely circulating fragments of cells.  But even though platelets are merely cell fragments, they contain many structures that are critical to stop bleeding.  They contain proteins on their surface that allow them to stick to breaks in the blood vessel wall and also to stick to each other.  They contain granules that can secrete other proteins required for creating a firm plug to seal blood vessel breaks.  Also, platelets contain proteins similar to muscle proteins that allow them to change shape when they become sticky.       Source


Red Blood Cells

Red blood cells play an important role in your health by carrying fresh oxygen throughout the body. Red blood cells are round with a flattish, indented center, like doughnuts without a hole. Your healthcare provider can check on the size, shape, and health of your red blood cells using tests, such as the complete blood count screening. Hemoglobin is the protein inside red blood cells that carries oxygen. Red blood cells also remove carbon dioxide from your body, transporting it to the lungs for you to exhale. Red blood cells are made inside your bones, in the bone marrow. They typically live for about 120 days, and then they die. Foods rich in iron help you maintain healthy red blood cells. Vitamins are also necessary to build healthy red blood cells. These include vitamin E, found in foods such as dark green vegetables, nuts and seeds, mango, and avocados; vitamins B2, B12, and B3, found in foods such as eggs, whole grains, and bananas; and folate, available in fortified cereals, dried beans and lentils, orange juice, and green leafy vegetables. Most people don’t think about their red blood cells unless they have a disease that affects these cells. Problems with red blood cells can be caused by illnesses or a lack of iron or vitamins in your diet. Some diseases of the red blood cells are inherited. Diseases of the red blood cells include many types of anemia, a condition in which there are too few red blood cells to carry sufficient oxygen throughout the body. People with anemia may have red blood cells that have an unusual shape or that look normal, larger than normal, or smaller than normal. Symptoms of anemia include tiredness, irregular heartbeats, pale skin, feeling cold, and, in severe cases, heart failure. Children who don’t have enough healthy red blood cells grow and develop more slowly than other children. These symptoms demonstrate how important red blood cells are to your daily life.      Source



Neutrophils are white blood cells that play some very important roles in our innate immune system. They circulate around our body in the bloodstream, and when they sense signals that an infection is present, they are the first cells to migrate to the site of the infection to begin killing the invading microbes. Neutrophils belong to a class of innate immune cells called granulocytes. Granulocytes get their name from the many granules in their cytoplasm. Granules are small, membrane-bound vesicles that contain various types of contents. In neutrophils, there are three different types of granules that help the cells perform their functions. Gelatinase granules help neutrophils exit the bloodstream and migrate through tissues to get to the site of infection. Azurophilic and specific granules contain antimicrobial proteins that allow neutrophils to kill microbes. Neutrophils’ main job is to kill as many germs as possible. First, they are very abundant, making up about 60% of the immune cells in our blood! This means that there are plenty of them around to respond to microbial invaders. Second, neutrophils are heavily armed. Their granules contain antimicrobial effectors, which you can imagine as our body’s natural antibiotics. These antimicrobial proteins can damage and kill microbes in various different ways. Third, neutrophils go to the front lines. Neutrophils are the first cells to migrate to a site of infection, and with the help of other innate immune cells, they work hard to keep things under control until the powerful adaptive immune system kicks in, a process that can take days to weeks. Finally, neutrophils are prepared to die for their cause. Each neutrophil only lives for a matter of hours, and new neutrophils are constantly being produced in our bone marrow. This means that these cells can use a dramatic suicide mechanism to control microbes. neutrophils engulf microbes into intracellular pouches called ‘phagosomes. Once a microbe is in a phagosome, neutrophils empty their azurophilic and specific granules into the phagosome. As microbes are being killed and digested in the phagosome, a neutrophil can enact yet another fascinating mechanism. It can commit suicide to make a neutrophil extracellular trap, or “NET”, a trap that can catch even more microbes.       Source