World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Giant multinucleated cell

Article Id: WHEBN0011125400
Reproduction Date:

Title: Giant multinucleated cell  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Giant multinucleated cell

Giant multinucleated cells are seen in the early stages of active infection with the acid-fast bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the causative agent of the disease tuberculosis.


Following inhalation of the M. tuberculosis bacterium and its attachment to the lumen of the alveolus, immune cells known as macrophages identify the bacterium as "foreign" and attempt to eliminate it by phagocytosis. During this process, the entire bacterium is enveloped by the macrophage and stored temporarily in a membrane-bound vesicle called a phagosome. The phagosome then combines with a lysosome to create a phagolysosome. In the phagolysosome, the cell attempts to use reactive oxygen species and acid to kill the bacterium. However, M. tuberculosis has a thick, waxy mycolic acid capsule that protects it from these toxic substances. M. tuberculosis actually reproduces inside the macrophage and will eventually kill the immune cell. Other macrophages attack the infected macrophage, fusing together to form a giant multinucleated cell in the alveolar lumen.

Transformation into tubercules

The giant multinucleated cell eventually becomes necrotic and dies. However, the M. tuberculosis bacterium inside is still viable. When the periphery of the giant multinucleated cell becomes calcified, a tubercule (also known as a granuloma) is formed, which remains in the lungs and may eventually need to be surgically excised. The giant multinucleated cell can also liquefy and spread the bacterial infection to the blood or other tissues.


This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.