These amazing pictures of the human immune system and cells offer a detailed and factual insight into the way our bodies work, like you have never seen before.
Images by Boehringer Ingelheim International.
A macrophage (x18000), a human defense cell, looking to engulf tiny droplets of oil.
T-cell under attack from HIV
A critical part of the immune system, a helper T-cell is under attack from HIV / Aids (blue).
These latecomers in the immune system evolution produce thousands of anti-bodies who's purpose is to attack a single type of pathogen.
On the attack
Malaria protozoa have multiplied in two cells inside a culture dish full of red blood cells. One of them has burst open, releasing parasites to infect other cells.
Skin is the first line of defence against armies of dangerous micro-organisms. It has the ability to rapidly repair itself.
The very first steps in a process known as phagocytosis, or "cell eating" a macrophage extends several pseudopods from it's singlecelled form to embrace a number of E-coli bacteria.
Bacteria trapped inside an extension of a macrophage membrane.
Powerful chemicals inside the macrophage breakdown and destroy the components of invading cells.
A macrophage reaches out.
Like something out of an alien movie, a macrophage reaches out to engulf bacteria with a cellular extension known as a pseudopod.
This is one of mans biggest inorganic threats, asbestos fibres are smothered by a macrophage which will inevitably die from its indigestible meal.
Mutiny in the body is a common occurrence, as many believe that as healthy cells somehow escape the mechanisms that regulate cell growth and turn cancerous. Fortunately, antigens on their surfaces sometimes alter slightly, changing from self to non-self. Thus the cells become targets for Killer T-cells, like these surrounding this large cancer cell.
Frozen in action, killer T cells appear remarkably alive as they attack a cancer cell. Several of the normally round T-cells acquire the elongated shape of active fighters as they subject their target to chemical attack, breaking down the cell membrane.
After a cancer sell loses its cytoplasm, it becomes a skeleton like shell, here surrounding a T-cell.
Overzealous immune responses, allergic reactions that plague humans unlucky enough to produce unnecessary antibodies.
A immune system gone wrong has destroyed a surgically removed femur of a 50 year old women who was suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis. The Most common of all the autoimmune disorders.
The common cold virus mutates all the time to avoid detection. As can be seen in this picture, an infected cell ruptures releasing a stream of new viruses (in blue) into a healthy hosts body.