Under the weather:
Few posts this week since this blogger has been battling a bacteria that seems to be going around Los Angeles (sort of like a strep throat). So it's up to the white blood cells, specifically neutrophils
, to wipe the bastards out. Speaking of neutrophils, they are the kind of suicide bomber you want on your side. Read about the "respiratory burst":
Neutrophils are active phagocytes, capable of ingesting microorganisms or particles. However, they can only execute one phagocytic event, expending all of their glucose reserves in an extremely vigorous "respiratory burst".
The respiratory burst involves the activation of an NADPH oxidase enzyme, which produces large quantities of superoxide, a reactive oxygen species. Superoxide spontaneously dismutates to hydrogen peroxide, which is then converted to hypochlorous acid (HOCl, also known as chlorine bleach) by the green heme enzyme myeloperoxidase. It is thought that the bactericidal properties of HOCl are enough to kill bacteria phagocytosed by the neutrophil, but this has not been proven conclusively.
Neutrophils deal with defense against bacterial infection and other very small inflammatory processes and are usually first responders to bacterial infection; their activity and death in large numbers forms pus.
Some of your white blood cells give up their all in order to create some chlorine bleach! That's amazing. And a good thing too.