Fragmentation (cell Biology) - Irregularities


DNA fragmentation can occur under certain conditions in a few different cell types. This can lead to problems for a cell, or it may lead to a cell receiving a signal to undergo apoptosis. Below are a couple of examples of irregular fragmentation that can occur in cells.

1. Red blood cell fragmentation
A fragmented red blood cell is known as a schistocyte and is generally the result of an intracellular mechanical injury to the red blood cell. A wide variety of schistocytes may be observed. Schistocytes are usually seen in relatively low numbers and are associated with conditions in which the normally smooth endothelial lining, or endothelium, is roughened or irregular, and/or the vascular lumen is crossed by strands of fibrin. Schistocytes are commonly seen in patients that have hemolytic anemia. They are also a feature of advanced iron deficiency anemia, but in this case the observed fragmentation is most likely a result of the fragility of the cells produced under these conditions.
2. Sperm cell DNA fragmentation
In an average male, less than 4% of his sperm cells will contain fragmented DNA. However, partaking in behaviors such as smoking can significantly increase DNA fragmentation in sperm cells. There is a negative correlation between the percentage of DNA fragmentation and the motility, morphology, and concentration of sperm. There is also a negative association between the percentage of sperm that contain fragmented DNA and the fertilization rate and embryo cleavage rate.

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