Types of Cells in the Human Body

What Kind of Cells Make Up Your Body?

Life on earth is classified among two major classes of cells. These cells are eukaryotic cells, and prokaryotic cells. Humans and most complex multicellular organisms are classified as eukaryotes, which means they are made up of eukaryotic cells. Eukaryotic cells have a nucleus which contains the genetic material. And unlike prokaryotes, eukaryotes have membrane bound organelles. They also have other organelles, such as mitochondria which produces energy for the cell and the endoplasmic reticulum which is a storage area for proteins and lipid metabolism.

What Are The Types Of Cells Found In The Human Body

The following types of cells found in the human body. Please note, this is not an exhaustive list.

Red blood cells:

Erythrocytes are the most common type of cell, and their main job is to transport oxygen, carbon dioxide, nutrients and other substances throughout the body.

White blood cells

these cells fight against infection, inflammation, and other disease. They also help your immune system to detect things that shouldn’t be in your body. White blood cells are further classified into:

Agranulocytes – This type of WBC has no distinct granules in their cytoplasm, hence the name. Examples include monocytes and lymphocytes.

Granulocytes – Unlike agranulocytes, this type of WBC has granulated structures in its cytoplasm. Examples include basophils, eosinophils and neutrophils.

Platelets:

Also called thrombocytes, these are tiny, colourless cell fragments. When you have a cut or a bruise, platelets stick to the injured area and help stop bleeding.

Skin cells

Skin is the largest organ in our bodies, and it’s made up of two different types of cells:

Keratinocytes: Keratinocytes are a type of cell that make up the epidermis. They form a tough, protective layer for the body and protects us from infections

Melanocytes: Melanocytes are found in the skin, hair, and eyes. They produce the pigment melanin, which is responsible for skin color and protection from the sun’s UV rays.

Langerhans cells – Langerhans cells are a type of “antigen-presenting cell” that play an important role in skin immunity. They are found in the upper layers of the epidermis and are activated by pathogens. They contain organelles called Birbeck granules, which are formed from inflammasomes (a type of protein) and help to produce cytokines to fight infection.

Merkel cells – Also called Tactile epithelial cells or Merkel-Ranvier cells, are found in the human skin (right below the epidermis) and are believed to be essential for sensing touch.

Heart Muscle Cells:

Also called cardiomyocytes, these are the cells that make up the cardiac muscles.

Stem Cells

Stem cells are cells that have not differentiated into any particular type yet. They can either become a particular cell type of divide and become more stem cells. They are usually found in embryos as well as adult tissues such as bone marrow. Stem cells can be classified into the following:

Totipotent cells – Totipotent cells are cells that can form any cell in the body.

Pluripotent cells – Pluripotent cells are cells that may become any cell except an egg or sperm.

Multipotent cells – This type of cell can develop into more than one type of cell but are generally more limited than pluripotent cells.

Bone Cells:

As the name indicates, these are the cells which make up the bone tissue. Bone cells are further classified into the following types based on their function – Osteoclasts, Osteoblasts and Osteocytes.

Osteoclasts: Osteoclasts are one of the types of bone cells that break down and reabsorb bone tissue. These are important cells as they are used to initiate bone remodelling.

Osteoblasts: Osteoblasts are a type of cell that builds new bone tissue. They are also produced in the bone marrow and spread to the surface of bones.

Osteocyte: a type of cell that is found inside the substance of fully developed bones. The functions of osteocytes include responding to mechanical stress and signalling bone resorption or formation, modification of the microenvironment, and regulating local and systemic mineral homeostasis.

Myocytes:

Also called muscle cells, are long and tubular cells that are essential for a wide variety of functions including support, internal, external movement and more. For example, peristalsis is a type of internal movement which is important for digestion.

Chondrocytes:

This type of cells are found in cartilage. These cells produce a matrix which primarily consists of collagen and proteoglycans.

Nerve Cells:

Nerve cells, also called neurons, are the fundamental building blocks of the nervous system. They enable communication between different areas of your body and brain. These cells can carry messages from your brain to other parts of your body via electrical impulses.

Neuroglial cells, also known as glial cells, are found in our brains and spinal cord and are tasked with the optimum functioning of the nervous system.

Fat Cells

A person’s weight is determined by the number and size of their fat cells. The two types of fat cells are:

White adipocytes – White adipocytes store energy as triglycerides

Brown adipocytes – Brown adipocytes burn energy as heat (thermogenesis). Moreover, as people age, they produce less white fat cells and more brown fat cells.

Sex cells

Spermatozoa and Ova are the main sex cells of humans.

Spermatozoa is exclusive to male humans and is composed of a head, neck, and tail. The head includes a nucleus with genetic material that can fertilize the egg cell.

Ova is the female equivalent to sperm cells. It contains all the necessary DNA to create an embryo.

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