How Many Types of Cells Are in the Human Body?

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Answered by: 
Jameson Gardner, Graduate Student

You may know that your skin is made of cells, your bones are made of cells, and your blood is made of cells. But these cells aren't all the same types of cells. Different types of cells each do unique jobs in your body. Together, they let your body function as a whole. So to put it in a joke format, how many types of cells does it take so that an adult human can screw in a light bulb? Any guesses? Over 200.

cell types image

Even within a specific tissue (like blood, bone, or muscle) there are many different cell types. For example, bone tissue cells include osteocytes, osteoblasts, and osteoclasts. Image by Department of Histology, Jagiellonian University Medical College.

There are about 200 different types of cells in your body. These cells make up your organs and tissues, as well as help to defend your body as a part of your immune system. Your cells are constantly being replaced as they die.

For example, the skin cells on the surface of your body live for about 30 days and then are replaced as they fall off. When red blood cells are old and need to be replaced, they are filtered out of your blood in the spleen, and new red blood cells are made in your bone marrow to replace them.

As cells get old and die, they are replaced, so your body is always made up of healthy living cells. Some dead cells stick around too, making up the outer layers of your skin, your fingernails, and your hair.


Looking for the number of total cells in the human body? Visit Building Blocks of Life.

For more simplified information on cells, check out Cell Bits and Cell Parts Bits.

Interested in immune cells? Don't miss Viral Attack.

cell image by Nephron via Wikimedia Commons

Have a different answer or more to add to this one? Send it to us.

Your body has over 200 different kinds of cells, from blood cells to bone cells to brain cells. Shown here are mixed cells from the parathyroid gland.

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