Monday, May 9, 2011

FREE animated function of the appendix

When in comes to explaining the role of the human vermiform appendix, I must dispel students' belief that it has no role. And then I must try to convey that it has an immune function while at the same time promoting microbial growth.

Being a visual learner by preference, and therefore preferentially a visual teacher, I find any concept easier to teach if I can draw a picture of it.  Even better if I can put that picture into motion.

I recently uploaded a new set of animated PowerPoint slides that anyone can use to explain the immune function of the appendix.

To download and view the FREE set of slides, go to

To access the file, you'll need a password.  If you don't already have a current password to the Lion Den Slide Collection, you can get one by filling out the form at

Feel free to use it in your classroom or website (or both).

I'll be adding a narrated version to my YouTube channel soon at

Want to know more?
New "old" news about the appendix
K. Patton
The A&P Professor 24 Aug 2009
[From the archive of this blog, includes some interesting comments from our readers plus links to journal articles]

The Cecal Appendix: One More Immune Component With a Function Disturbed By Post-Industrial Culture
Michel Laurin et al.
The Anatomical Record. Article first published online: 2 MAR 2011 DOI: 10.1002/ar.21357
[Recent review article that outlines an interesting perspective on the function of the appendix.]

Monday, May 2, 2011

Video: Neutrophils to the Rescue

Have you seen this video from Science Videolab that shows fluorescent-stained neutrophils rushing toward the site of a tissue injury?

The clip actually strings together several videos showing bright green neutrophils rushing toward damaged cells in liver tissue (seen as bright red areas).  The narrator explains in simple terms what is going on and what it means in understanding what happens when tissue damage occurs.

This is a great FREE video to show your class when discussing any or all of these topics:
  • WBCs in general
  • Neutrophils
  • Immune response
  • Inflammation
  • Chemotaxis
Check out the video!
Want to know more?
Intravascular Danger Signals Guide Neutrophils to Sites of Sterile Inflammation
Braedon McDonald et al.

15 October 2010: Vol. 330 no. 6002 pp. 362-366 DOI: 10.1126/science.1195491

[Research article that summarizes the discovery about how neutrophils use a multistep process to navigate toward noninfectious sites of tissue injury. ]
EDITORS' CHOICE: Immunology Inflammation Response in Living Color
Kristen L. Mueller
Sci. Signal., 19 October 2010 Vol. 3, Issue 144, p. ec324 DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.3144ec324
[Editor's summary of the processes described above]