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Sickle cell anaemia. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of red blood cells in sickle cell anaemia (drepanocytosis). Here, normal red blood cells (rounded) contrast with an elongated sickle- shaped cell (top) & other irregular-shaped cells. Sickle cell anaemia is an inherited blood disease, so-called because the affected red blood cells have abnormal haemoglobin (an oxygen-carrying pigment) that distorts cells into a sickle shape.
Inner ear hair cells. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of sensory hair cells in the cochlea of the inner ear. The crescent-shaped arrangements of hairs across top are the stereocilia. Each crescent lies atop a single cell. Magnification: x1000 when printed at 10 centimetres wide.
Migrating cancer cell. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a cultured cancer cell moving (metastasising) through a hole in a support film. Numerous pseudopodia (arm-like), fillipodia (thread-like) and surface blebs (lumps) can be seen. These features are characteristic of highly mobile cells, and enable cancerous cells to spread rapidly around the body, and invade other organs and tissues (metastasis).
✯ Nerve cells and glial cells, coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM). The nerve cells have small cell bodies (pink) and fine extensions called axons and dendrites (mauve). The glial cells have large cell bodies (brown) with thicker extensions (mauve). Neurons are responsible for passing information around the central nervous system (CNS) and from the CNS to the rest of the body. Glial cells are nervous system cells that provide the neurons with structural support and protection.✯
SEM of hair cells (brown/ pink) in a healthy inner ear. The inner ear converts sound waves into nerve impulses by stimulation of stereocilia (pink, upper frame), projections at the ends of the hair cells. Waves entering the inner ear displace the fluid that surrounds the stereocilia, causing the stereocilia to bend. This bending causes the hair cells to release neurotransmitter chemicals, which generate nerve impulses that travel to the brain along the auditory nerve.