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Wait…It does what?!

December 21, 2014

We covered before that our immune system is designed to protect us, but exactly how does it do that? Well, there are several ways.

One way I always thought was funny, is through the process of ‘phagocytosis’! C’mon now… you gotta admit the word just sounds funny! It literally means ‘cell eating’ and that is exactly what it does; though it’s for ‘debris clean-up’ purposes, not for nutrition purposes as we would eat. These special cells are cannibals!

Seriously though, ‘Phago’ comes from the Greek language meaning ‘to eat’ or ‘eating’ and they actually engulf bad cells/organisms/debris as if they were eating them, hence where the name comes from. If you pull up a website called ‘cells alive’ you can actually see phagocytes in action! You can also see mitotic division, cardiac cells doing their ‘thing’, and… Sorry, back to the point!

Hello everybody, my name is Sandra Armstrong and I am… a science geek!

The process of phagocytosis is an important component of a healthy immune response, but it is one of the components, not the entire thing! Sometimes phagocytes can work ‘solo’ and find and destroy bad micro-organisms on their own, but their best work comes when they are part of a mounted immune response and they act as ‘heat seeking’ missiles. It seeks and destroys micro-organisms that have been ‘tagged’ as ‘bad’ by other immune cells during an immune response known as an inflammatory process. This process is one of the most important immune responses your body creates.

We’ll talk more about this one… next time!

Sandra

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From → The Wife's Side

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