In a world first, Melbourne scientists have captured on video each stage of death of a human white blood cell, a phenomenon never seen before and which reveals the cells apparently try to alert their immune system allies that they are dying.
Using time-lapse microscopy, which allows very fast events to be captured by taking hundreds of photographs every second and then viewing them in a sequence at high speed. Until now, scientists believed cells died and fell apart in a random process. The time-lapse “video”, however, shows their death is highly controlled and deliberate.
Their discovery, which also involved researchers from the University of Virginia in the US, was important because it gave scientists more insight into how pathogens take over dying cells and facilitate disease spread, she said.