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Cells 14 - 11 - 2002

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Cells To all our members, warm greetings, Today we are on newsletter No 100. What a good excuse to remind us what a miracle nature created when it created us. Please bear in mind that all the material comes from the "life science" course. From the moment of birth, the body is self-healing or self-repairing, self-directing and self-regulating on a continual basis. Let's take a look at how it has been accomplishing this task. Our body has certain cells with very specialized jobs to perform. These cells work for us to maintain health and thwart any outside influence that may interfere with our well being. NEUTROPHIL The neutrophil is a white blood cell that is one of the most common and most important of the cells active in the healing and repair process. These cells contain large quantities of a characteristic protein that has a marked ability to disposed of decayed or spent bacteria and other debris. During the inflammatory reaction, neutrophils migrate into the tissues where they are very active phagocytes. In this situation, neutrophils are mainly responsible for ingesting the unwanted debris that accumulates. During phagocytosis, the granules or lysosomes of the cells are discharged and many of the cells die; the aggregate of dead neurophils forms the material known as pus. Bacteria then proliferate to feast on this pus, thus making it easier to expel EOSINOPHIL Eosinophils are white blood cells that occur in the blood stream in much smaller numbers than the neutrophils. They are also somewhat phagocytic and are found in greatly increased numbers in both blood and tissues during inflammatory conditions. BASOPHYLS Basophyls constitute only 0.5 % of the white cells of the blood. They are said to contain histamine and a heparin-like substance. Histamine dilates capillaries and often permits fluid to move through the capillaries and into the tissues. Heparin is an anti-coagulant of the blood. Apparently tissue basophils become the mast cells of the tissues. The large granules of mast cells are thought to store enzymes. Mast cells are important in cellular mechanisms needed during injury. MONOCYTES There are comparatively few monocytes in the blood - about 5% of the total white cell count. Momocytes are actively motile and phagositic. It is thought that they function in contributing to the repair and reorganization of tissues. Monocytes and macrophages are capable of engulfing old, worn out neutrophils, mast cells, and particles of tissues in the process of cleaning up an area of inflammation after the initial stages have been passed and recovery is in progress. FIBROBLASTS The function of fibroblasts in tissue repair is to lay down dense collagen fibers to form firm, mechanically strong replacement for dead tissue. The simplest such situation is after an incised wound has been made in the skin. There the collagen fibers are orientated transversally across the incision, restoring mechanical strength LYMPHOCYTES Lymphocytes are also strongly phagocytic and carry out their duty of healing and repair by assisting the neutrophils during inflammation conditions or injury. I think that all these names are confusing enough for one newsletter! Next week we will look at the organs of repair Until then, Take Care, The Crazy Nut Team P.S. If you have missed any of the previous articles and would like to read them, please visit our archives at

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