Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

Now in our 9th year of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science every day

Not Coming In

Megakaryocytes discovered to do more than supply the blood's platelets

15 August 2019

Not Coming In

Human blood is packed with all kinds of different cells that are made inside bone marrow, from oxygen-carrying red blood cells to infection-fighting immune cells. There are also small fragments called platelets, which are essential for blood clotting. Platelets form by budding off from much larger bone marrow cells known as megakaryocytes, which are more than 10 times larger than regular blood cells Until recently, it was thought that this platelet-making role was the only job for megakaryocytes. Using a new three-dimensional microscopy technique, researchers have now discovered that megakaryocytes (green) also act as biological ‘bouncers’, creating obstacles that control the movement of immune cells (grey/cyan) into blood vessels (red) inside the bone marrow. By tracking how different types of blood cells interact and then turning these images into computer simulations, scientists can now study the behaviour of blood cells in complex, real-life situations without the need for animal experiments.

Written by Kat Arney

Search The Archive

Submit An Image

What is BPoD?

BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

Read More

BPoD is also available in Catalan at with translations by the University of Valencia.