My own cheek cells

We all know we are made out of cells. Several trillion cells to be more accurate. So we loose cells every day – mostly skin cells. When you brush, you loose a lot of cells. If you take your finger and rub inside your mouth; you would have gathered hundreds or thousands of cells from the surface of your mouth. These cells lining most parts of our body are termed “epithelial cells” and form one of the four main category of cells (others being muscle cells, connective tissue and nervous tissue). One of the main role of “epithelial cells” is to keep foreign things outside by forming a nice tight sheet of cells. To make a sheet; they are mostly flat cells and connect with each other nicely to form a single layer. If you have seen a mosaic of tiles; you know what I mean.

1. To see some of my own cells (after all, I am just a collection of cells); I just took my thumb and rubbed inside my mouth for 20 seconds.
2. I took the slime/saliva that I had on my finger and put that on a glass slide and put it inside a Foldscope 140X and connected my iPhone5 with the same.
3. I was very excited; so you will hear my voice in the background.
4. We observed a lot more than I had bargained for – specially lots of things that would qualify as bacteria (specially some motile bacteria). Secondly I found a big crystal (can’t say what that was); and also some black speckles. I wonder if i had coffee a few minutes ago and my mouth was coated with coffee particles (coffee is brown because of tiny colloidal particles – I will post that some other time).

Enjoy the video – I call this video “this is me” since the tiny nuclei you see in this video has all the information it needed to make “me” – it’s just beautiful to see these cells.


3 Comments Add yours

  1. laksiyer says:

    Great video. The mouth has between 200-300 species of bacteria jostling to conquer that space and no two people have the same profile. How do bacteria win in this warzone? We are only beginning to understand this now.

  2. Manu Prakash says:

    @laksiyer: I did not know the 200-300 number. I am still puzzled with that crystal at the very beginning of the video. Never thought I would have a crystal in saliva. It could also be a contaminant on the slide itself..

  3. laksiyer says:

    That crystal-like structure is truly inexplicable. The mouth is too dynamic for a crystal to form, it could have come from something that is consumed, something like a fruit. In all my years of observing I never thought much about the slide, but after many recent trials with the foldscope and the dancing droplets, I think the slide surface is itself worth exploring. One thing I noticed in mine are these dimples that I once mistook for cells. I dont see them in others’ slides but they are prominent in my Amscope slides.

Leave a Reply