A step toward a universal flu vaccine

Each year, the flu vaccine has to be redesigned to account for mutations that the virus accumulates, and even then, the vaccine is often not fully protective for everyone.

New mechanism for anti-infection effects of dietary fiber

New research in mice has uncovered a previously unknown interaction between molecules derived from dietary fiber and an immune cell protein, which triggers protection against infection with Salmonella bacteria. Hitoshi Tsugawa ...

Super-potent blood stem cells discovered in human embryos

Stem cells that form the blood and immune system, so-called hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), have important applications in the treatment of blood cancers and other diseases of the immune system. Through blood stem cell transplantation, ...

Human white blood cells use molecular paddles to swim

Human white blood cells, known as leukocytes, swim using a newly described mechanism called molecular paddling, researchers report in the September 15th issue of Biophysical Journal. This microswimming mechanism could explain ...

How dividing cells avoid setting off false virus alarms

One feature of cell division has long puzzled scientists. The nucleus briefly disappears, leaving the cell's DNA exposed. Normally, bare DNA indicates a viral infection and triggers enzymatic alarms that alert the immune ...

How cGAS enzyme is kept bottled up

In higher organisms, detection of DNA in the cytoplasm triggers an immune reaction. The enzyme that senses "misplaced" DNA is also found in the nucleus, but nuclear DNA has no such effect. LMU researchers now report why that ...

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White blood cell

White blood cells (WBCs), or leukocytes (also spelled "leucocytes"), are cells of the immune system defending the body against both infectious disease and foreign materials. Five different and diverse types of leukocytes exist, but they are all produced and derived from a multipotent cell in the bone marrow known as a hematopoietic stem cell. Leukocytes are found throughout the body, including the blood and lymphatic system.

The number of leukocytes in the blood is often an indicator of disease. There are normally between 4×109 and 1.1×1010 white blood cells in a litre of blood, making up approximately 1% of blood in a healthy adult. An increase in the number of leukocytes over the upper limits is called leukocytosis, and in leukopenia, this number is much lower than the lower limit. The physical properties of leukocytes, such as volume, conductivity, and granularity, may change due to activation, the presence of immature cells, or the presence of malignant leukocytes in leukemia.

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