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October, 2006
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Neutrophils: Granular leukocytes having a nucleus with three to five lobes connected by slender threads of chromatin, and cytoplasm containing fine inconspicuous granules and stainable by neutral dyes.


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

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

Antibody Structure

JoVE 10898

Antibodies, also known as immunoglobulins (Ig), are essential players of the adaptive immune system. These antigen-binding proteins are produced by B cells and make up 20 percent of the total blood plasma by weight. In mammals, antibodies fall into five different classes, which each elicits a different biological response upon antigen binding.

Antibodies consist of four polypeptide chains: two identical heavy chains of approximately 440 amino acids each, and two identical light chains composed of roughly 220 amino acids each. These chains are arranged in a Y-shaped structure that is held together by a combination of covalent disulfide bonds and noncovalent bonds. Furthermore, most antibodies carry sugar residues. The process of adding sugar side chains to a protein is called glycosylation. Both the light chain and heavy chain contribute to the antigen binding site at each of the tips of the Y structure. These 110-130 amino acids are highly variable to allow recognition of an almost unlimited number of antigens. This region is also called the variable region and is part of the antigen binding fragment. Each arm of the Y-shaped unit carries an identical antigen binding site. Antibodies can crosslink antigens: when one arm binds to one antigen and the other arm binds to a second, structurally identical antigen. Crosslinking is facilitated by the f

 Core: Biology

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


JoVE 10710

Cells pull particles inward and engulf them in spherical vesicles in an energy-requiring process called endocytosis. Phagocytosis (“cellular eating”) is one of three major types of endocytosis. Cells use phagocytosis to take in large objects—such as other cells (or their debris), bacteria, and even viruses.

The objective of phagocytosis is often destruction. Cells use phagocytosis tonate unwelcome visitors, like pathogens (e.g., viruses and bacteria). It is perhaps unsurprising, that many immune system cells, including neutrophils, macrophages, and monocytes, leverage phagocytosis to destroy pathogens or infected host cells. In addition to immune system cells, amoebae, algae, and other single-celled organisms use phagocytosis to eat. Phagocytosis begins when a particle (e.g., virus) contacts the engulfing cell, called a phagocyte. Sometimes, this is a chance encounter. Other times, the phagocyte follows a chemical signal to the particle, in a process called chemotaxis. The phagocyte eventually binds to the particle or cell via surface receptors. Different types of phagocytes use distinct receptors for phagocytosis. These receptors may be general, responding to a variety of stimuli, or specific. The phagocyte begins to surround and engulf the particle bound to its surface by extending regions of its cytoplasm, called pseudopods, around the particle.

 Core: Biology

An Introduction to Cell Motility and Migration

JoVE 5643

Cell motility and migration play important roles in both normal biology and in disease. On one hand, migration allows cells to generate complex tissues and organs during development, but on the other hand, the same mechanisms are used by tumor cells to move and spread in a process known as cancer metastasis. One of the primary cellular machineries that make cell movement…

 Cell Biology

Fundamentals of Breeding and Weaning

JoVE 10293

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

Millions of mice and rats are bred for use in biomedical research each year. Worldwide, there are several large commercial breeding facilities that supply mice to research laboratories, but many facilities choose to also breed mice and…

 Lab Animal Research
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