Immunity basics (Never Let Mum Eat Beans)

My funny drawing…hey, at least it is an original!

This is my funny drawing … ←
See also: “The Santa Heart”

Hi there. Well, it seems like a good time to begin speaking about blood, blood cells and what they do. Working in the ER at Kaiser, as a tech, or on the wards as a CNA, I would go to deliver or pick up labs, but had no idea what they meant. The same goes for EKGs, but that will be another article…
In my biology classes, I seemed to do just what I needed to get by, but when you realize that knowing a great deal about blood will make you a better med student and doctor, then the game changes quite quickly. Searching around the Internet, I found some great articles regarding the basics of blood, including for example, why doctors order a Complete Blood Count, and what things they are looking for in the results. I am guessing that this is very basic stuff for med students or nursing students, but since I am neither, I guess I will just start with the basics…

So..to start with, we can say that blood is made up of plasma and formed elements. Some of these elements stay in the blood steam, and others leave blood vessels to go and provide help where they are needed. Some are good at recognizing foreign (non-body) matter, and destroying it, or engulfing it without any help, others lend a hand in the battle to fight foreign matter and pathogens.

Before I begin my explanation, I want to say how amazed I am at how beautifully designed this system is. I know there has been a lot of talk about Creation vs. Evolution, but I think you have to just take one look at this system to realize how fantastic it is, and marvel at how it came into being. Sure, it happened over a VERY VERY long time, but that does not make it any less wonderful…

(Please insert: the system becomes a little less wonderful and perfect when I consider my mum who died in 2010 from T-Cell Lymphoma…no one had any idea that it might have been cancer…dermatologists included…so for a while, I was not so impressed with the immune system. ) Ok, then…let’s get started with the basics.

Plasma makes up 55% of the blood; the rest is formed elements (45%). Of the formed elements, red blood cells, or erythrocytes make up 99% of the formed elements, the other 1% are white blood cells (leukoctes) and platelets (thrombocytes).

To help you remember the names of the white blood cells, use this mnemonic:

Never Let Mom Eat Beans

Neutrophils

● Responsible for a great deal of the body’s defense against infection.

● Produced in the bone marrow, released in the bloodstream to go where they are needed.

Lymphocytes

● Born in the bone marrow, then mature in the thymus (T-cells).
● Found in the blood stream, spleen, lymph nodes, appendix.
● Three main types: B-cells, T-cells, Natural Killer cells (NK cells)
● T-Helper (NK cell) secrete substances to help stimulate other cells of the immune system)
● T-Suppressor (NK cell) suppresses actions of other cells in the immune system.


● T-Cytotoxic (NK cell) helps to destroy tumor cells
● B-cells secrete antibodies, and later become plasma cells
● B & T cells are part of the Adaptive Immune System, meamning that they become able to mark and recognize new invaders.


Monocytes


● (aka macrophages) (aka histiocytes)
 
Eosinophils


● Stain brick-red after staining with Eosin (a red dye).
● Acid-loving (eosinophillic).
● Develop in bone marrow –  before entering the blood.
●  Combay multicellular parasites and infections (along with mast cells)
(also control mechanisms involved with asthma) They become active when you
have an allergic reaction/diseases/infections.

Basophils
● Easily stained with basic dyes
● Release histamine that act on blood vessels during the immune response.
● Have dark grains in the cytoplasm of the cell.



Thrombocytes (platelets)
● Have no nuclei, but do have granules
● They are actually pieces of a megakaryocyte (found in bone marrow)
● Megakaryocytes have a very large nucleus


This guy is amazing!!! (Armando Hasudungan)
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