Many human diseases are spread by birds through direct contact with them, but we know surprisingly little about their immune systems that protect them from the diseases that they can carry. Scientist are eager to discover how birds resist fatal infections in their effort to help improve human immune defense performance.
Macrophages (immune cells) are produced from particular large white blood cells called monocytes that are produced stem cells in bone marrow. Macrophages find, engulf, and digest particles, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites with special enzymes and toxic peroxides. Bird blood macrophages seem to do a better job in attacking and destroying otherwise very dangerous and sometimes fatal infections.
*Note that this page is archived, and this Smart Microscope Slide has been retired.