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Apoptosis in the Pathway of T cell Development and Differentiation - Term Paper Example

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In this paper the author describes the mechanism of apoptosis compared with other types of cell death, describes two other types of cell death: autophagy and mitotic catastrophe and discusses the role of apoptosis in the development of hemopoiesis and then specifically in T cell development…
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Apoptosis in the Pathway of T cell Development and Differentiation
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Download file to see previous pages             Haemopoiesis is the process of the lifelong production of different blood cells. Blood cells are derived from stem cells in the adult bone marrow and fetal embryos. The process of hemopoiesis starts with stem cell division resulting in two daughter cells where one cell serves for self –renewal, while the other undergoes differentiation to form the myeloid and the lymphoid progenitors. From the myeloid progenitor branch, arise dendritic cells and other committed blood progenitor cells: granulocyte-monocyte, eosinophils, basophils, megakaryocytes, and erythroid. These produce the corresponding cells: macrophages, neutrophils, eosinophils, basophils, platelets, and erythrocytes (Abbas & Lichtman, 2003). Commitment to differentiate to a specific cell lineage is affected by chance and the external signals received by the cells. Several transcription factors that are expressed at low levels have been found to regulate differentiation of the lineages. Growth factors also direct the differentiation to a cell lineage (Gordon, 2007). Continuous self-renewal of stem cells produces homogeneous populations of daughter stem cells, showing that the behavior of hemopoietic stem cells is quite predetermined (Müller-Sieburg, Cho, Thoman, Adkins, & Sieburg, 2002).
During an organism’s lifetime, almost every cell is replaced many times. Red blood cells are replaced at the rate of 3000 cells per second. Because some blood lineages have the half-life of many years (others have the half-life of a few hours only), it is possible that overproduction of blood cells could occur. The uncontrolled and continuous increase in the number of blood cells could lead to disease. With normal and functional apoptotic machinery, the number of blood cells remains balanced, and cells damaged by internal and external stresses are removed or deleted (Abbas & Lichtman, 2003). 
Apoptosis has direct roles in controlling the number of in vivo hemopoietic stem cells, which maintains homeostasis and the number of cells constant at any given time. If apoptosis is prevented, there is an uncontrolled increase and proliferation of haemopoietic stem cells, increased progenitor lines and the development of malignancies and autoimmune disease. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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