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Friday Whatsit for January 7, 2011

January 7, 2011

Time for our weekly guessing game, where I put up a picture taken with a microscope and you guess what it is!

It doesn't go any bigger, its a bit of a larger image cropped out!

This week’s Whatsit is part of a larger picture of tissue stained with H&E (hematoxylin and eosin) a very common stain in medicine.

Your clues: Hematoxylin stains the nucleus of a cell blue.  Notice the cells in the middle of the ring-shaped structure.  They have no nuclei.  Yet they are cells.  In fact, they are the only mammalian cells that lose their nuclei at maturity.

What are these cells?  You’ve probably seen a lot of this type of cell, just not this up close and personal.  Bonus points for the “scientific” name, which has its roots in Greek, not Latin.  Extra bonus points for the name of the molecule that makes it possible for these cells to function.  Guesses in the comments section, answer on Monday!

  1. Gina Ruttle permalink

    Red blood cells.

  2. Gina Ruttle permalink

    Greek: erythrocytes. These are enucleated erythrocytes compared to repitilian blood cells that ARE nucleated. Hope we are correct on this answer.

    • This is one of the faster correct guesses for a Whatsit! I know of at least four physicians who read these posts, so I never put up an H&E thinking it will go unanswered 🙂

      You are also correct about the Greek-rooted name for RBCs, erythrocytes, as well as the fact that reptiles (and all other vertebrates aside from mammals) have nucleated red blood cells.

      Hope you’re having fun up north! We have treats for the doggies when you get back. I made them, Zoe taste tested — she says they are yummy.

  3. Mary Bankhead permalink

    Wow, people are fast! My red blood cell submission is too late.

    • There’s still the triple dog dare bonus bonus question about the molecule that lets red blood cells do their thing, you could take a guess at that.

      Otherwise, better luck next time Mary!

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