Sunday, December 14, 2008

cells and the spirit of Christmas

I am in a Christmassy (is there such a word?) mood today. I sat for a while thinking if there is anything in the cell or about cells that is somehow related to Christmas.

Well, what predominates during Christmas is the spirit of giving. So, is such a spirit present at all in cells? I think I can answer “ yes” to that. I think there is so much giving in cells actually. Just take a look at our soldier cells for example – the macrophages and some of the white blood cells, they are called “soldiers of the body” because they do defend us. In the process of defense however, they must "give up their lives".

In my Nov 26 post, “display, tell, and kiss” I mentioned that macrophages act as APCs or antigen presenting cells. Well, these cells once they “kiss” with the T lymphocytes actually die because the T cells (specifically the killer T cells) punch holes in these APCs and literally these cells “spill their blood”. So these cells die in the process but they have done their duty – that of informing the T cells that there is an infectious agent or an abnormal molecule in the body. Imagine that, that is a true spirit of giving, “giving up one’s life” in the line of duty.
If that does not show the spirit of Christmas, I don’t know what does.

Have a happy Christmas!

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