MadSci Network: Anatomy Query:
Re: How many cells does a human lose every second?
Date: Wed Feb 7 19:07:19 2001
Posted By: Steve Mack, Post-doc/Fellow, Molecular and Cell Biology, Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute
Area of science: Anatomy
I'm sorry that I have taken so long to answer your question, but it VERY specific, and I wanted to try to figure out the best answer that I could.
First of all, lets take a look at the scope of your question. To start, we have to think about how many cells we have to start with. Our bodies are made of cells of course, but no one has been able to sit down and count each and every cell to see exactly how many go into making a person. We have to make estimates based on the size and distribution of the different types of cells, and the mass of an adult human body (in this case, the adult male body). These estimates lead us to conclude that, each of us has on the order of seventy-five to one hundred trillion cells that make up their body. However, not all of those cells are what you would call, 'human' cells (i.e. cells that contain your own genetic material). About 40 trillion of your cells (comprising almost 50% of your body's cell count) are bacterial cells that live in your digestive system, primarily in your large intestine. However, these bacterial cells are much smaller than the cells that make up your body, so more of them can fit in a small space. Of the remaining ~50% of your body's cell count, only about 10% (or ~4 trillion cells) make up the solid tissues that we think of when we think of the human body (muscles, spleen, kidneys, bones, brain, stomach, skin, etc.). The remaining 45% percent of the cells in your body are blood or lymph cells of some sort that are not associated with any solid tissue. These cells actually comprise most of the cells in your body. There are approximately 30 trillion Red Blood Cells, 2 trillion Platelets, and 500 million White Blood Cells...
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