‘Unexpected’ function of immune blood cells found
The ability of a cell to divide (proliferate) just leads to the formation of complex organisms from a single cell. The researchers found that in a healthy person, certain immune blood cells, monocytes, also have the ability to proliferate.
Most of the cells that make up a living organism arise from the so-called “stem” cells, which divide at the very beginning of the formation of the organism. These cells then stop proliferating to specialize, differentiate, and form muscles, brains, bones, immune cells, and so on.
The new study found that this ability to proliferate is not just limited to stem cells, but is also an as yet unexplored function of immune blood cells called monocytes.
These cells, previously considered already differentiated, are able to proliferate and create a pool of monocytes in tissues, giving rise to macrophages – important immune cells that protect us from microbes and keep our organs functioning properly.
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