Welcome to Cell Cartoons
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T cells are named after the organ they develop in, the Thymus.
Cytotoxic T cells (CTLs) are a special type of T cells with the ability to kill other cells. Usually they kill cells that have been infected with a virus. This way the virus can no longer use these cells for replicating inside of them. CTLs secrete cytotoxins to kill the other cells and are therefore called “cytotoxic” T cells.
Plasma Cell shooting Antibodies
B cells in the human body develop in the bone marrow and are responsible for producing antibodies. The antibodies produced by B cells circulate around our body and bind to specific viruses or bacteria to neutralize them and help get them killed by other cells of the immune system
Dendritic cells (DCs) are named after their branched projections called dendrites. These cells are the sentinels of the immune system and are always testing their surroundings in case they see any danger. DCs process antigens they pick up from their surrounding and present these to T cells.
A big challenge of the immune system in the intestine is being able to distinguish between harmful pathogens and at the same time be tolerant towards harmless antigens derived from food and commensal bacteria (good bacteria). Mechanisms to maintain tolerance are therefore necessary to avoid unwanted immune responses that may lead to inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. The dendritic cells (DCs) found in the intestine are crucial to maintaining this equilibrium. DCs are constantly sampling antigens, such as food antigens. One way these cells sample antigens directly from the intestinal lumen is by inserting their dendritic processes between the epithelial cells layer.
1. Dendritic cells express tight junction proteins and penetrate gut epithelial monolayers to sample bacteria. Nat Immunol. 2001 Apr;2(4):361-7.
This monocyte turned into a dendritic cell (DC) and doesn’t even know how it happened!
Many researchers isolate monocytes and then derive them into DCs to do studies on these cells. It is a common method followed by people studying DCs that need to generate some cells for their experiments.
Protocols to generate monocyte-derived dendritic cells (Mo-DCs)
Isolation and Generation of Human Dendritic Cells by Current Immunology Protocols
DCs process antigens they pick up from their surrounding and present these to T cells.
The dendritic cell (DC) is presenting an antigen to a T cell but the T cell doesn’t recognize it. This is making the DC kind of sad.
The T cell will only recognize and respond to the antigen and MHC combination presented, if it has a T cell receptor (TCR) that recognizes these. This process is called MHC restriction.
Macrophages are white blood cells. The word macrophage comes from the word macros “large” and phagein “eat”. Macrophages are big cells that eat.One of their main roles of these cells is to phagocytose (engulf and then digest) cellular debris and also pathogens such as bacteria. This process is known as PHAGOCYTOSIS.
Phagocytosis is a complex mechanism that requires for the macrophage to rearrange its inner cell bits to surround and engulf the target. This animation is a cartoon depicting a macrophage chasing bacteria to ultimately phagocytose them.
Leukocyte extravasation is the movement of leukocytes out of the circulatory system and towards the site of tissue damage or infection. This process is regulated by a concerted action between endothelial cells and leukocytes, whereby endothelial cells activate leukocytes and direct them to extravasation sites, and leukocytes in turn instruct endothelial cells to open a path for transmigration.
Neutrophils are the first cells to get to the site of infection, they are professional phagocytes and ferocious eaters that rapidly engulf invaders.
Plant & Animal Cells
Host Pathogen Battles
Red Blood Cell Lysis
To analyze cells in the blood sometimes the red blood cells (RBCs) need to be removed. This can be done by lysing the cells. There are various RBC lysis buffers available that do just that.
Fears of an adipocyte
Adipocytes are fat cells, which specialize in storing energy as fat.
There are lots of people out there who make their new year’s resolutions to loose weight. It is no surprising that these fat cells are scared of shrinking or disappearing completely.
Red Blood Cells in Love
These two red blood cells (RBCs) fell in love! Red blood cells are found in the blood and therefore in the vein, get the joke? 😛
Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cell
Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) are professional Type I IFN producers.
Allergies suck, don’t they?