show/hide words to know
- Apoptosis: self-destruction of a cell.
- Cytotoxins: chemicals that kill cells.
- Lysis: cell death because of damaged membranes.
are the chemical weapons that Killer T-cells use to destroy infected
cells. Viruses take over healthy cells and trick them into making many
more viruses. When those viruses get out, they can infect even more
healthy cells. By killing infected cells before these viruses get out,
cytotoxins protect your healthy cells.
Different kinds of cytotoxins work in different ways. Some cytotoxins make holes in the cell membrane, so the inside of the cell is not protected from the outside. Without a full membrane, the cell dies. Cell death because of this kind of break in the cell membrane is called lysis.
Other cytotoxins turn on a program in the cell that causes it to self-destruct. This is called apoptosis. The dark spots in the picture are cells that have been destroyed by apoptosis. Macrophages, the first member of the body's clean up crew, remove these dead cells.