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Blood Cells: The cells found in the body fluid circulating throughout the Cardiovascular system.

Assay for Cell Death: Chromium Release Assay of Cytotoxic Ability

JoVE 10505

Source: Frances V. Sjaastad1,2, Whitney Swanson2,3, and Thomas S. Griffith1,2,3,4
1 Microbiology, Immunology, and Cancer Biology Graduate Program, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455
2 Center for Immunology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455
3 Department of Urology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455
4 Masonic…

 Immunology

What is the Immune System?

JoVE 10895

The immune system comprises diverse biological structures and processes that protect the body from disease. These processes can be classified into innate and adaptive immunity. To work effectively, the immune system needs to detect pathogens by distinguishing the body’s own structures from foreign elements. If this determination fails, autoimmune diseases occur in which the immune system reacts against the body’s own tissue. The innate immune system is the first line of defense against infection. It comprises physical barriers and a variety of cells that act quickly and non-specifically against elements that are foreign to the host (i.e., non-self). Examples of physical barriers in mammals are skin, the lining of the gastrointestinal tract, and secretions, such as mucus or saliva. Once an invader overcomes physical barriers, cells of the inflammatory response are recruited to the entry site: mast cells release a plethora of chemicals that attract other cells of the innate immune system and activates the adaptive immune system. Phagocytic cells, such as neutrophils and macrophages, ingest and destroy pathogens. Natural killer cells, a special type of white blood cell, destroy virus-infected cells. Together, cells of the innate immune system eradicate the invader or hinder its spread, and activate the adaptive immune system. How can an organism

 Core: Biology

Glial Cells

JoVE 10843

Glial cells are one of the two main types of cells in the nervous system. Glia cells comprise astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, microglia, and ependymal cells in the central nervous system, and satellite and Schwann cells in the peripheral nervous system. These cells do not communicate via electrical signals like neurons do, but they contribute to virtually every other aspect of nervous system function. In humans, the number of glial cells is roughly equal to the number of neurons in the brain. Glia in the central nervous system (CNS) include astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, microglia, and ependymal cells. Astrocytes are the most abundant type of glial cell and are found in organized, non-overlapping patterns throughout the brain, where they closely associate with neurons and capillaries. Astrocytes play numerous roles in brain function, including regulating blood flow and metabolic processes, synaptic ion and pH homeostasis, and blood-brain barrier maintenance. Another specialized glial cell, the oligodendrocyte, forms the myelin sheath that surrounds neuronal axons in the CNS. Oligodendrocytes extend long cellular processes that wrap around axons multiple times to form this coating. Myelin sheath is required for proper conduction of neuronal signaling and greatly increases the speed at which these messages travel. Microglia—known as the macrop

 Core: Biology

Cell-mediated Immune Responses

JoVE 10896

The cell-mediated immune system is the host’s primary response against invasive bacteria and viruses that cause intracellular infections. It is also essential for fighting against and destroying cancer cells. Furthermore, the cell-mediated immune system plays a role in the rejection of organ transplants or graft tissue.

Phagocytic cells of the innate immune system, such as macrophages or dendritic cells, are the first to recognize a foreign particle. These cells engulf the foreign particle and digest it. Small molecules of the foreign particle, called antigens, remain intact and are presented at the surface of the phagocytic cell. The presentation is facilitated by proteins of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC), which binds the antigen and protrude from the cell. The phagocytic cell is therefore also called an antigen presenting cell (APC). The MHC-antigen complex activates cells of the adaptive immune system, which eventually fight the source of the foreign particle. T cells are a type of lymphocyte that are named after their location of maturation—the thymus. In the thymus, precursor T cells differentiate into two main types, CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. These cell types are named after the surface receptor that determines the cell’s function. All T cells carry T-cell receptors, but the coreceptor CD4

 Core: Biology

Inflammation

JoVE 10902

In response to tissue injury and infection, mast cells initiate inflammation. Mast cells release chemicals that increase the permeability of adjacent blood capillaries and attract additional immune cells to the wound or site of infection. Neutrophils are phagocytic leukocytes that exit the bloodstream and engulf invading microbes. Blood clotting platelets seal the wound and fibers create a scaffold for wound healing. Macrophages engulf aging neutrophils to end the acute inflammatory response. Tissue injury and infection are the primary causes of acute inflammation. Inflammation protects the body by eliminating the cause of tissue injury and initiating the removal of cell debris resulting from the initial damage and related immune cell activity. Inflammation involves mediators of both the innate and adaptive immune system. Proper regulation of inflammation is crucial to clear the pathogen and remove cell debris without overly damaging healthy tissue in the process. If inflammatory processes are not properly regulated, chronic inflammation can arise that is often fatal. Mast cells are the first to respond to tissue injury, as they are primarily located in areas that have contact with the exterior: the skin, gut, and airways. Mast cells have an arsenal of receptors on their cell surface and can hence be activated by a wide variety of stimuli, such as mi

 Core: Biology

Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

JoVE 10812

Stem cells are undifferentiated cells that divide and produce different types of cells. Ordinarily, cells that have differentiated into a specific cell type are post-mitotic—that is, they no longer divide. However, scientists have found a way to reprogram these mature cells so that they “de-differentiate” and return to an unspecialized, proliferative state. These cells are also pluripotent like embryonic stem cells—able to produce all cell types—and are therefore called induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). iPSCs are potentially valuable in medicine, because a patient who needs a particular cell type—for instance, someone with a damaged retina due to macular degeneration—could receive a transplant of the required cells, generated from another cell type in their own body. This is called autologous transplantation, and it reduces the risk of transplant rejection that can occur when tissues are transplanted between individuals. To create iPSCs, mature cells such as skin fibroblasts or blood cells from a person are grown in culture. Then, genes for multiple transcription factors are delivered into the cells using a viral vector, and the transcription factor proteins are expressed using the cell’s machinery. The transcription factors then turn on many other genes that are expressed by embryonic stem cells, re

 Core: Biology

Humoral Immune Responses

JoVE 10897

The humoral immune response, also known as the antibody-mediated immune response, targets pathogens circulating in “humors,” or extracellular fluids, such as blood and lymph. Antibodies target invading pathogens for destruction via multiple defense mechanisms, including neutralization, opsonization, and activation of the complement system. Patients that are impaired in the production of antibodies suffer from severe and frequent infections by common pathogens and unusual pathogens. B lymphocytes, also called B cells, detect pathogens in the blood or lymph system. Although B cells originate in the bone marrow, their name is derived from a specialized organ in birds in which B cells were first discovered, the bursa of Fabricius. After release from the bone marrow, B cells mature in secondary lymphoid tissues, such as the spleen, lymph nodes, tonsils and mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue throughout the body. B cells bind to specific parts of a pathogen, called antigens, via their B cell receptors. In addition to antigen binding, B cells require a second signal for activation. This signal can be provided by helper T cells or, in some cases, by the antigen itself. When both stimuli are present, B cells form germinal centers, where they proliferate into plasma cells and memory B cells. All cells that are derived from a common ancestral B c

 Core: Biology

Blood Withdrawal I

JoVE 10246

Source: Kay Stewart, RVT, RLATG, CMAR; Valerie A. Schroeder, RVT, RLATG. University of Notre Dame, IN


Blood collection is a common requirement for research studies that involve mice and rats. The method of blood withdrawal in mice and rats is dependent upon the volume of blood needed, the frequency of the sampling, the health status of the …

 Lab Animal Research

What is the Endocrine System?

JoVE 10875

The endocrine system sends hormones—chemical signals—through the bloodstream to target cells—the cells the hormones selectively affect. These signals are produced in endocrine cells, secreted into the extracellular fluid, and then diffuse into the blood. Eventually, they diffuse out of the blood and bind to target cells which have specialized receptors to recognize the hormones. While most hormones travel through the circulatory system to reach their target cells, there are also alternate routes to bring hormones to target cells. Paracrine signaling sends hormones out of the endocrine cell and into the extracellular fluid where they affect local cells. In a form of paracrine signaling, called autocrine signaling, hormones secreted into the extracellular fluid affect the cell that secreted them. Another type of signaling, synaptic signaling, involves the release of neurotransmitters from neuron terminals into the synapse—a specialized junction that relays information between neurons—where they bind to receptors on neighboring neurons, muscle cells, and glands. In neuroendocrine signaling, neurosecretory cells secrete neurohormones that travel through the blood to affect target cells. Overall, endocrine signaling has a slower effect than other types of signaling because it takes longer for hormones to reach the target cel

 Core: Biology
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