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Anatomy and physiology: Phagocytosis



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    The coughing, sneezing, vomiting, and the restless nights is a place where we have all been quite a few times; and sometimes it feels like it could be for the last time. What people don’t think about is why all this is happening to them. Little do we know our cells are undergoing just as much trouble as we are; a lot more goes on in the microscopic world than people think. Elie Mitchnikoff could tell you all about this. He was a biologist who was best known for the pioneering in the research of the immune system.

    In 1882 Elie mitchnikoff won the Noble Prize in Medicine for his work on phagocytosis when experimenting on larvae in starfish. Phagocytes are specific white blood cells called leukocytes that perform this action that Elie Mitchnikoff found. Phagocytosis is the engulfing or ingestion of foreign substances in our bodies such as microbes, bacteria, debris, and damaged or worn out tissue cells. Although we may get cuts and bruises, our bodies are actually quite amazing.

    You may not believe it, but our bodies work to the best of their abilities and are on a frequent combat to keep us healthy. They do this by our Immune system. Tell better understand phagocytosis getting more into depth about this is necessary. There are two types of immunity. Innate immunity (also called nonspecific immunity) and adaptive immunity (also called specific immunity). Innate immunity or nonspecific immunity is going to be subdivided into two things. It has a first line of defense and a second line of defense that have been present since birth.

    When we call it nonspecific immunity we mean that they don’t necessarily know what type of virus, what type of bacteria, or what type of foreign substance it is. They generally respond to things that are bad. All they know is that they see something that isn’t suppose to belong and they respond to it, but they don’t remember it. The first line of defense includes the physical and chemical barriers of the skin, acid in our stomachs, or the acidity of the oils on the outside of our skin. Our skin provides a barrier which helps foreign substances from piercing into the body and causing diseases.

    The second line of defense is our cells that produce the action of phagocytosis which are phagocytes, antimicrobial substances, natural killer cells, inflammation and fever. Innate immunity doesn’t involve specific detection of a microbe. They treat every microbe the same way. Adaptive immunity or specific immunity is the bodys way of defending itself by specific invading antigens like bacteria, toxins viruses, and foreign tissues. This is all based on having exposure to things. When you have resistance to a certain virus, bacteria, or etc this is your adaptive immunity working.

    It is overall an inflammatory response. Fore mostly, the immune systems first line of responsibility is to keep anything in the body that can cause disease out of it. Viruses, fungi, protein, bacteria and parasites that cause this are called pathogens. If these do get into the body it’s the second line of defenses responsibility to eat and destroy them to keep us from dying. This is where phagocytes come into play. Phagocytes have receptors to anything that is not good for the body. Phagocytes only belong to the innate immune system.

    Which are a class of cells that eat up pathogens. There are two major types of phagoctyes. There are neutrophils and macrophages. Once an infection happens nuetrophils and monocytes go to that area. This process is called emigration, which is white blood cells that are leaving the blood stream. During the time where the nuetrophils and monocytes migrate the monocyte changes into something more larger and my phagocytic called a wandering macrophage. There are five steps in phagocytosis: chemotaxis, adherence, ingestion, digestion, and destroying. The first step is chemotaxis.

    This draws phagocytes to the place of damage by a chemical movement. These chemicals that draw the phagocytes can come from the pathogens, white blood cells, or damaged tissue cells. The second step is adherence. This is the attachment of the phagocyte to the foreign substance. The third step then ingests the foreign substance with hand like psuedopods that engulf it. It does this by fusing together the psuedopods and surrounding the organism with a sac called the phagosome. This is like a vesicle that contains the foreign particle that needs to get rid of.

    Afterwards digestion occurs; the phagosome then enters the cytoplasm and combines with lysosomes. This is where chemicals are released such as lysozmes, enzymes, and oxidants which break down the microbes cell walls. Then occurs destroying, which is the very last step. Any other materials that can’t be tarnished any further are called residual bodies and then exit the phagocyte. Phagocytosis also plays an important role in adaptive immunity as well. Anatomy and physiology is very important to my career.

    My short term goal is to become accepted into San Jacintos RN program in which I will be in for two years. I will obtain my associates of applied science in nursing. Afterwards I will transfer to the University of Texas and continue to get my Bachelors of Science in Nursing. With all of this schooling I would love to work at MD Anderson Cancer Center as a pediatric oncology nurse. Pediatric oncology nurses are cancer nurses who care for the young patients and families dealing with cancer. You must understand the basic genetics, biochemistry, and physiology of cancer.

    You may be able to start a oncology nursing career with a two, three, or four year nursing degree but many employers prefer a Bachelors of Science and nursing degree. Cancer nurses also need to be compassionate as well as needing to be experts in pain control. Oncology nurses may go as far as they want through clinical practice, continuing education studies, certification programs and advanced degree programs. There is an Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation which offers certification as an Oncology Certified Nurse (OCN), Advanced Oncology Certified Nurse (AOCN) or Certified Pediatric Oncology Nurse (CPON).

    There is also the Oncology Nursing Society which offers a cancer chemotherapy program. There are many other roles which include oncology clinical nurse specialist and oncology nurse practitioner. Some advanced practice nurses also abide with research, studying various interventions that may improve the care cancer patients. This is why Anatomy and Physiology is important to my career. This class is the first step into the rest of my life. Not only will I love what I do, but I will also be making a difference in people’s lives.

    Anatomy and physiology: Phagocytosis. (2016, Oct 04). Retrieved from

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