Animal Cells – learn all about the cell components

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Animal Cell Diagram

An animal cell is a very complicated system. However, with some focus and studying, anyone can learn what the different parts of the animal cell do. Here are some of the more notable components of an animal cell, along with the function that they perform:

Golgi Apparatus: This primary function of this cell structure is to process the proteins which are synthesized in the endoplasmic reticulum. Once the Golgi apparatus has processed the proteins, they can end up as integral membrane proteins in the plasma membrane, as a part of lyosomes or secreted by exocytosis.

Endoplasmic Reticulum: As you learned when you read about the Golgi apparatus above, one of the functions of the endoplasmic reticulum is to synthesize proteins. However, this is not the only function of this cell structure. The endoplasmic reticulum is also responsible for manufacturing most of the membranes of the cell, as well as lipids.

Additionally, as you may have noticed in the diagram above, there are actually two types of endoplasmic reticulum. The main function of the rough endoplasmic reticulum is protein synthesis (the ribosomes on the surface of this type of endoplasmic reticulum are why it is called rough), while the main function of the smooth endoplasmic reticulum (which does not have ribosomes on its surface) is to synthesize lipids.

Plasma Membrane: Like other cells, animal cells have a plasma membrane. This cell structure serves as the interface between the machinery in the interior of the cell and the extracellular fluid that bathes the animal cell.

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Animal Stem Cells Could Help Pets

Filed under: Animal Cells,Animal Stem Cells - 30 Apr 2013  | Spread the word !

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Stem cell therapy is an exciting new way for potentially battle diseases such as cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and so on. For humans, the technology is still mostly in experimental phases. For animals, though, the future is here already.


Several veterinarians in Hawaii have approached stem cell therapy and have managed to ease the aches and pains of aging dogs and cats over the past year. The stem cell treatment they use is a relatively simple process. It involves extracting adult stem cells from the animal’s own fat, then reinjecting them into injured joints to relieve pain from problems such as osteoarthritis, hip dysplasia, and degenerative bone disease.

Veterinarian Cristina Miliaresis wanted to test the treatment before offering it at Surf Paws Animal Hospital. To see if it works, she tested it out on her own dog, a 9-year-old American bulldog/pitbull with ruptured ligaments in both its knees.

The results were great, said the doctor. They were so great that she recently gave her dog a second treatment that has left the pet happy and hyper. “It’s an amazing concept in general, and it’s not something we’ve had the ability to do until now”, said Miliaresis.


Carole Spangler Vaughn, owner of MediVet Hawaii – a company that specializes in regenerative medicine for animals – also said that the treatment is simple and safe. “It’s low risk. We’ve never seen a negative reaction from the actual stem cell therapy”, says the doctor. “Conservatively speaking, 95% of the time they get better and there’s improvement – less pain and more mobility”, added Vaughn.

Embryonic stem cell research for humans has been and still is very controversial. However, the stem cell treatment for animals uses adult stem cells collected from a few tablespoons of the animal’s own fat, which significantly reduces the risk of rejection. Unlike embryonic cells, adult stem cells have not been found to cause cancer, said doctor Vaughn. “You get lots of stem cells in fat. It’s kind of cool”, added Vaughn. “Nobody cares if you take some fat out of somebody”, said Miliaresis.

The procedure costs up to $3,000 and takes just a few hours. The results have all been positive, at times quite dramatic, said the doctor. There’s no way of knowing whether the treatment will prolong a pet’s life, but the doctor says she had “at least five patients who were going to euthanize their pets because they thought they were too uncomfortable”. Those owners saw the quality of life of their pets improve so much that they reversed their decisions.


Other pet owners have seen enough improvement to take their pets off long-term medications that just mask symptoms, says Miliaresis. “Their whole aura improves. They just seen happier. That’s the best thing for me to see – these patients feeling better. It’s really rewarding”, Miliaresis says.

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Alzheimer’s Disease

Filed under: Animal Cells - 20 Mar 2013  | Spread the word !

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Alzheimer’s disease is one of the hardest to cure diseases that can be developed by individuals from all over the world. In fact, these is no cure for this condition, even though treatment can relieve symptoms and improve the general state of patients. Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive condition that ends up destroying memory and mental functions. Alzheimer’s disease is also known as being the most common cause of dementia. In time, patients diagnosed with this condition will loose intellectual and social skills.

How is Alzheimer’s disease formed?

In Alzheimer’s disease, brain cells degenerate and die. This is the main reason why memory and mental function decrease. So, this is why Alzheimer’s disease is considered to be a cell disease.



One of the first symptoms you will experience in case you are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease is memory loss. So, if you have trouble remembering things, seeking a doctor’s advice is the best thing you can do. Symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s disease include difficulties with:

  • Orientation;
  • Speaking and writing;
  • Thinking and reasoning;
  • Making judgments and decisions;
  • Planning and performing familiar tasks.

Other symptoms include:

  • Depression;
  • Social withdrawal;
  • Distrust;
  • Irritability;
  • Changes in sleeping habits;
  • Wandering;
  • Loss of inhibitions;
  • Delusions.



Specialists consider that there actually is a combination of many factors that can lead to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. They may include genetic, lifestyle and environmental factors. However, the effects are clear. Alzheimer’s disease causes damage and kills brain cells.

Age is considered to be a risk factor in the development of Alzheimer’s disease, as well. The risk of developing this condition is much higher for people aged over 65. Women are believed to be at a higher risk of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, compared to men. Smoking, lack of exercise, as well as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and poorly controlled diabetes may also increase the risk of developing this disease.


Medication and therapy are commonly administrated for Alzheimer’s disease with the main purpose to improve symptoms. They can help patients maximize function and maintain independence, being able this way to lead a normal life. Seeking support is a must for all patients who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

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Sickle Cell Disease

Filed under: Animal Cells - 13 Nov 2012  | Spread the word !

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Sickle cell disease, or sickle cell anemia, is a common condition diagnosed in quite an impressive number of individuals. This actually is a form of anemia, the disease being best described by the lack of healthy blood cells. Blood cells have the important role of carrying adequate oxygen levels throughout the body. In normal conditions, red blood cells are flexible and round, having the ability to move easily throughout the blood vessels. When a patient develops sickle cell anemia, red blood cells tend to become rigid and consequently they are shaped like sickles.

Irregularly shaped cells can get stuck in small blood vessels. This way they can slow or block blood flow and oxygen to different parts of the body. Seeking medical help is highly important when developing sickle cell disease. However, you should know that unfortunately there is no treatment that is known to be able to cure this condition. There are various therapies that can relieve pain and decrease the frequency and severity of symptoms.



There are several signs and symptoms that may indicate a patient is suffering from sickle cell disease. They may include:

  • Anemia;
  • Episodes of severe pain;
  • Hand-foot syndrome;
  • Frequent infections;
  • Delayed growth;
  • Vision problems;
  • Abdominal swelling;
  • Fever;
  • Swelling in the hands or feet;
  • Pale skin;
  • Whites of the eyes;
  • Any signs or symptoms of stroke.

Naturally, not all patients will experience all these symptoms, as they may vary from one case to another. No matter which of the aforementioned symptoms you experience, seek medical assistance as soon as possible.

Sickle cell anemia is actually determined by a gene mutation, so this is the main cause and risk factor of developing this condition.



As already mentioned, sickle cell anemia is a disease that unfortunately cannot be cured. However, there are a series of drugs and treatments that can be used to reduce pain. Bone marrow transplant is considered to be the only potential cure for the disease. Still, finding a donor can be extremely hard, in some cases being actually impossible. The procedure is extremely risky and the positive results cannot be guaranteed in any case.

Treatment for sickle cell anemia will most commonly include drugs that can relieve symptoms and prevent future complications. Some of the most common types of complications associated to this condition include stroke, skin ulcers, blindness, organ damage, pulmonary hypertension and acute chest syndrome.

Seeing a specialist regularly is highly important in keeping the disease under control. The doctor will monitor your health, indicating you the right medication treatment.


Unfortunately, there is not much that can be done to prevent the development of this disease. Parents trying to conceive a child should see a genetic counselor to find out if there are any risks for the baby to inherit a genetic mutation. A specialist can recommend treatments and various therapies as measures to prevent inheriting the disease.

As you can see, sickle cell anemia is a very serious condition. Anyone can develop this disease, this is why future parents should be extremely careful. In case there are any sings that your health has been affected, you should seek medical help as soon as possible.

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Cancer Cells

Filed under: Animal Cells - 09 Nov 2012  | Spread the word !

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To understand what cancer is, you first have to know what cancer cells are. Cancer cells are cells that grow and divide in an abnormal manner. One important thing you should know about cancer cells is that they can be quite common in the human or animal body. Nevertheless, they only become malignant when healthy cells fail to recognize them. This means that cancer cells are not destroyed and replaced by healthy ones, which causes the growth of tumors.


It is commonly believed that cancer cells fail to recognize healthy cells when the immune system is weakened. Still, some studies have shown that this happens due to the lack of some particular molecules which aid this process. Regarding the development of cancer cells, there are numerous theories. Some claim that stem cells can be tuned into cancer cells when there is too much SP2 protein.



All living organisms are formed by cells, which are the body’s basic unit of life. There are many types of cells which compound the body. They grow and divide in a controlled manner and produce more cells. As cells get older or damaged, they die and are replaced by new, healthy cells.

In some situations this process cannot be completed. This means that mutations can be formed. They will affect the normal cell growth and their division. Consequently, cells get damaged, but they will not die and new cells will not be able to replace them. New cells are formed even though the body doesn’t need them. All these cells create masses of tissue. This is how cancer tumors are formed.

Cancer cells have unique features compared to other types of cells. This is the main reason why specialists claim that they are immortal.



A balance between the cells that grow and the ones that dye keeps the human body functioning in a normal manner. When the process is affected, regardless of the cause, masses of cells are formed. Cell growths can be classified as benign and malignant.

  1. Benign growths can occur in any part of the body. They are small and harmless.
  2. Malignant growths are formed by cells that have aggressive behavior. These cells from tumors that have the potential to grow and spread throughout the body.

Cancer cells have the ability to spread. They can spread through direct invasion and destruction of the organ, as well as through the lymphatic system and bloodstream. Cancer cells are able to escape the defense mechanism of the immune system, who fails to recognize and destroy them.

Understanding the way cancer is formed is impossible without a complex understanding on cells role and development.

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Common Cell Diseases

Filed under: Animal Cells - 09 Oct 2012  | Spread the word !

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The cell is the smallest component of all living organisms. Cells contain genes, proteins, but also other chemicals into the cellular membrane. Each cell has its own cycle of life and responds to different stimulus. Cellular disorders are formed when cell dysfunction is experienced, no matter if this supposes producing more or less cells. Some cellular diseases are fatal, meaning that they can evolve to stages in which there is nothing that can be done to cure them.

1. Cancer

Cancer is one of the most common types of cellular diseases traced in an impressive number of patients every year. This is among the most common diseases in the United States, affecting more than 1.5 million Americans yearly. About 500,000 people die due to cancer related diseases each year.

Cancer, regardless of its type, occurs when normal cells start developing abnormally. Cells can develop genetic mutations that cause abnormal cell proliferation. This way tumors are formed. Changes in cellular behavior allow cells to divide uncontrollably. These cells are not normal cells and so they need to be replaced. When cancer is formed, the body fails to recognize and replace unhealthy cells. Cancer needs to be treated as soon as possible, as otherwise it may actually lead to the death of the patient.


2. Sickle-cell disease

Cancer is not the only common cell disease. Sickle-cell disease is also determined by abnormal cell development. This is a blood disorder mostly characterized by defects in erythrocytes or red blood cells, which contain a molecular complex called hemoglobin. When sickle-cell disease is formed, the hemoglobin contained in blood cells is mutated. This means that cells are not able to carry oxygen effectively. During a normal process, oxygen is carried to tissues from all over the body.

Patients who have been diagnosed with sickle-cell disease will most likely have symptoms such as anemia, insufficient oxygenation of tissues, as well as shortness of breath and pain. Treatment for sickle-cell disease is very complex. It may require blood transfusions.


3. Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease also is a common cellular disease. This condition affects the nerve cells in the brain. Neurons are nerve cells that determine a complex network of communication with other nerve cells. They transmit signals to the body, which actually are vital.

Patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease have their cellular structure affected. As this structure begins to collapse, it creates neurofibrillary neurons. In time, they cause neuron cell death and consequently dementia and memory loss. Defects in motor function and personality or behavioral changes can also be felt by patients.


Alzheimer’s disease unfortunately is an incurable condition. Cancer can be overcome only when traced in its first stages of evolution, in fact, until now specialists not being able to discover a treatment that can cure this disease. Cellular conditions are hard to overcome and unfortunately there is not much people can do to avoid their development.

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Animal Cells – Facts

Filed under: Animal Cells - 26 Sep 2012  | Spread the word !

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The cell is the basic unit of life. Most cells are extremely small, so they are invisible without a microscope. All organisms are formed by cells. Actually, a cell is the smallest part of any living organism. Each cell is formed by many parts. They include:

  • Cell membrane;
  • Cytoplasm;
  • Nucleus;
  • Nuclear Membrane;
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum;
  • Ribosomes;
  • Mitochondria;
  • Lysosomes;
  • Vacuoles.

Most cells feature the same characteristics. So, the cell is covered by a cell membrane. It can come in different shapes. The inside of a cell is called the protoplasm.

The cell membrane surrounds the outside of the cell. This is a very thin membrane. It allows certain substances to pass in and out. Such substances may include foods or oxygen. Inside the cell membrane, there are many structures known as organelles. The cytoplasm is formed by water and organelles. The nucleus is also found inside the cell membrane. This actually is the control center of the cell. Inside the nucleus there are located chromosomes, which contain the cell’s genetic information. The entire function of the animal cell is explained in the video below:

Cells vary a lot when it comes to size. They carry thousands of biochemical reactions each minute, this way perpetuating life. Cells work in the human body without us having an idea about the complexity of this process.

Here are some fascinating facts you should know about animal cells:

  • The smallest cell measures 0.00001 mm in diameter.
  • The largest cells are the nerve cells that run down a giraffe’s neck.
  • Liver cells may be ten times larger than heart cells.
  • Cells can present numerous differences in size and shape.
  • Each cells is a model of independence and self-containment.
  • Cells can join, communicate and coordinate with other cells.
  • Inside the human body, there are about 20 to 30 trillion cells.
  • Dozens of different kinds of cells are organized in tissues.
  • The components of cells are molecules. They are structures formed by the union of atoms.
  • The main molecules that underlie cell structures are proteins, nucleic acids, carbohydrates and lipids.
  • Biochemical reactions in cells are guided by enzymes.
  • DNA, meaning the nucleic acid deoxyribonucleic acid, contains the hereditary information of cells.
  • RNA, meaning the ribonucleic acid, works with DNA to built the proteins that cells need.


Cells are basic structural and functional units of living organisms. The cell was first discovered in 1665. The cell theory was developed in 1839 by Matthias Jakob Schleiden and Theodor Schwann.

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Cross-Section of an Animal Cell

Filed under: Animal Cells - 02 Aug 2012  | Spread the word !

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Just like any other cells, animal cells are very small and cannot be seen by the naked eye. They are actually invisible to the human eye without using a microscope. The same microscope is what helped scientists discover the main components of the animal cell. A cross-section into the animal cell can indicate all of its components, just like in the picture below:


Cell membrane: the thin protein and fat layer surrounding the cell;

Centrosome (also known as the microtubule organizing center): a small body near the nucleus where microtubules are made;

Cytoplasm: the place housing the organelles; it is very jelly-like;

Nucleus: the body controlling many of the cell’s functions; here is where the DNA is located;

Nucleolus: the organelle contained by the nucleus, where ribosomal RNA is produced;

Nuclear membrane: the membrane surrounding the nucleus;

Golgi body (or Golgi apparatus): the flattened, layered organelle looking like a sack that produces the membranes surrounding the lysosomes; 

Lysosomes (also knwon as cell vesicles) the round organelles containing digestive enzymes where the cell digestion occurs;

Mitochondria: the organelles converting the energy stored in glucose into ATP (adenosine triphosphate)

Ribosomes: the organelles composed of cytoplasmic granules that are rich in RNA and are the sites of protein synthesis;

Rough Endoplasmic Reticulum (or rough ER): the organelle transporting materials though the cell, producing proteins in sacks called cisternae;

Smooth Endoplasmic Reticulum (or smooth ER): the organelle transporting materials through the cell; it also contains enzymes and produces and digests both lipids and membrane proteins;

Vacuole: the organelle that fills with food being digested, as well as with waste material that is on its way out of the cell.

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How Are Animal Cells Different from Plant Cells

Filed under: Animal Cells - 11 Jul 2012  | Spread the word !

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Cells are the functional and structural units of all living organisms. Both plants and animals have them, but animal cells are different from plant cells in some respects. There are certain characteristics that clearly set them apart, but essentially they are the same and share the same functions. Here are the main differences between them.


Plant Cells

- have chloroplasts containing chlorophylls, meaning light-absorbing pigments that help them in the photosynthesis process, which enables them to make their own food;
- have a cell wall over the cell membrane, which supports a rigid, typically rectangular structure that is composed of cellulose, hemicellulose, and many other materials;
- are more square shaped;
- have a single large, central vacuole that usually takes up 90% of cell volume;
- have plasmodesmata, which are microscopic channels that traverse the cell walls and are considered to be communication pathways;
- do not have centrioles (except for lower plant forms).

Animal Cells

- do not have chloroplasts;
- do not have a cell wall; they only have the cell membrane;
- are either circular or irregular; as they do not have a cell wall, animal cells have more dynamic shapes, but they are mostly circular;
- have one or more vacuoles; even though there are many more vacuoles in the animal cell, they do not take up the volume that the central vacuole in plants does;
- do not have plasmodesmata;
- have centrioles; plants do not need to have these organelles, since their spindle fibers connect to the cell wall.

These are the main differences between plant and animal cells. Except for these particular features, they share the same organelles: endoplasmatic reticulum (smooth and rough), ribosomes, mithochondria, Golgi apparatus, plasma membrane, microtubules and microfilaments, lysosomes, and nucleus. Flagella may be found is some cells, as well as cilia. However, cilia is quite rare in plant cells.

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The Diagram of Animal Cells

Filed under: Animal Cell Structure - 28 Jun 2012  | Spread the word !

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All species of large complex organisms are eukaryotes, including plants, animals and fungi. Eukaryotes are organisms whose cells contain complex structures enclosed with membranes, having a nucleus and other membrane-bound organelles. Even though all cells share the main components of the cell and other organelles, they also have distinctive features that differentiate them. Unlike plant cells, animal cells do not have cell walls and chloroplasts, which leads to the lack of a rigid cell wall. This causes the cells of animals to adopt a wide array of shapes. The aforementioned membrane-bound organelles are tiny cellular structures that have different functions, each one being necessary for normal cellular operation. In order to better understand how these cells work, here is some information on the animal cell diagram.

A typical animal cell contains centrioles, cytoplasm, endoplasmatic reticulum, Golgi complex, lysosomes, microtubules, mitochondria, nucleus, nucleolus, nucleopore, and ribosomes. Centrioles have the role of organizing the assembly of microtubules during cell division. The cytoplasm is a gel-like substance within the cell which holds the organelles together. The endoplasmatic reticulum consists of an extensive network of membranes made of regions with ribosomes and regions that do not have ribosomes. The Golgi complex (or apparatus) is in charge of manufacturing, storing and shipping certain cellular products, so it has an important role in the cellular digestion. Lysosomes are enzyme sacs that digest macromolecules such as nucleic acids. Microtubules are also meant to help support and shape the cell. Mitochondrias are power producers in charge of cellular respiration. The nucleus is the membrane bound structure where the cell’s hereditary information is being held, meaning the structure which contains the cell DNA. It is also the central and largest part of the cell. The nucleolus is the structure within the nucleus that has an important role in the synthesis of ribosomes. The nucleopore is a small hole within the membrane which is responsible for allowing nucleic acids and proteins to move in and out of the nucleus. Ribosomes consist of RNA and proteins and are in charge of protein assembly.

As you can see in the cell diagram, these are the components of typical animal cells. Other structures that an animal cell may contain include peroxisomes, the cytoskeleton, cilia and flagella. The animal cell diagram can help both teachers and students, since it enhances the learning and better understanding of animal cells, which are the basic units of every single eukaryote organism.

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The Origin Of Animal Cells

Filed under: Animal Cells - 10 Jun 2012  | Spread the word !

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Learning biology can be quite difficult in some cases, especially if you do not understand the exact origin of all the things you need to learn about. The cell, for example, is the basic unit of all organisms. The is the smallest possible live thing, this is why it is considered that cells are those that actually build life. There are unicellular organisms (mostly bacteria) and pluricellular organisms, like animals or plants. Most cells are very small and can be viewed only with the help of a microscope. The cells of plants and animals are very similar. The human body, for example, is made of about 10 trillion cells. Animal cells are fascinating and mysterious at the same time, as their origins are lost in the beginning of history. Since the cell was discovered, named and analyzed in 1665 by Robert Hooke, the origins of it were searched. It is clear that this appeared once with life, but it is wonderful to learn more about the theories surrounding the manner in which the first cell appeared on Earth.

It is believed by some that small molecules which developed into life on Earth came from meteorites. The deep sea vents could have also brought the small life units on the planet. It is not known for sure if the Earth had a reducing atmosphere millions of years ago, but if it did, then is possible that cells were synthesized by the lighting of that exact atmosphere. Unfortunately, there is no data to understand how the first forms of life replicated on our planet. Apparently, RNA is the first self replicating molecule that existed because it can store information and induce chemical reactions at the same time.

The first animal cells, like others, too, appeared about 4.3 billion years ago. A present theory maintains the belief that those were heterotrophs. Heterotrophs are those organisms that use organic carbon for their growth. One of the characteristics of the cell raises new questions. As now the membrane of it is made of lipids, were the earlier cells existing on Earth simpler? Apparently yes, they were even more permeable and had just one fatty acid chain for each lipid. The mystery of the appearance of cells on Earth is related to that of the appearance of life. It is interesting to see how many theories developed in time.

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