How one pathogen evades the immune system

An LMU research team led by Nicolai Siegel has uncovered a mechanism that enables the parasite that causes sleeping sickness in humans to escape the attention of the immune system. The finding may also be relevant to other ...

Watch immune cells dig tunnels in tissues

White blood cells called cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) dig tunnels in tissues, potentially allowing other CTLs to quickly reach infected cells and tumor cells, researchers report December 1st in Biophysical Journal. The ...

How stem cells choose their careers

"What do you want to be when you grow up?" is a question it seems like every child gets asked. A few precocious ones might answer "a doctor" or "an astronaut," but most will probably smile and shrug their shoulders. But well ...

Fats fighting back against bacteria

Droplets of fat inside our cells are helping the body's own defence system fight back against infection, University of Queensland researchers have discovered.

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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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