What are target cells? (with photos)

In hematology, target cells are a form of red blood cell.

The term “target cells” is used in a number of different ways in the fields of hematology, immunology, and endocrinology. Typically, the specific meaning is clear in context, as the cells treated as targets in these fields are very different. Understanding how the various types of these cells work and what they mean can be helpful for patients who want to know more about their medical conditions.

The presence of target cells can indicate that someone is suffering from anemia.

In the case of hematology, a target cell is a type of red blood cell that has developed a bull’s-eye appearance as a result of thickening the sides and narrowing the middle. In a blood sample, the cells literally look like little targets floating around, which explains the name. In healthy individuals, target cells should not be present. These cells indicate that someone is suffering from anemia or a disease such as liver failure or thalassemia. Also known as codocytes, these cells can be identified during routine blood tests, in which a blood sample is taken from a patient and subjected to various tests.

Codocytes can be identified during routine blood tests.

Immunologists use the term “target cell” to refer to a cell in the body that has been infected by a virus or damaged in some way, triggering the production of abnormal proteins that do not belong in the body. The cell presents antigens that act as warning signals to helper T cells, which can in turn alert the immune system to a problem and destroy the target cells. The body destroys the cells to prevent a virus or abnormality from spreading.

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A target cell is a red blood cell that has developed a bull’s-eye appearance.

For endocrinologists, the term refers to cells that have receptors for specific hormones. Many cells in the body act as target cells for specific hormones, and some are receptors for various hormones. The body uses hormones to trigger a wide variety of events, from releasing milk after childbirth to sending signals between cells. In some types of cancer, tests may be done to see what type of cell might be involved, such as in breast cancer, where surgeons look for cells with estrogen receptors to determine which type of treatment would be most appropriate for the condition of the breast. patient.

Target cells must not be present in the blood of healthy individuals.

If a doctor suspects that a patient has a target cell-related condition of particular concern, tests may be ordered to determine whether or not they are present. Blood and tissue samples can be analyzed for the presence of target cells to gather information that can be used in diagnosing and treating a patient.

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