Cell Lysis

Cell Lysis


  • Lysis refers to the process of breaking down a cell, often by viral, enzymic, or osmotic (mechanisms that work by increasing the pressure inside the cell) effects that compromise its integrity.
  • Cell lysis occurs when a cell’s membrane (the wall of the cell) is disrupted, causing the contents of the cell to be released.

Role in the Body

  • In the human body, cell lysis can play a part in the immune response.
  • When an infected cell is identified, special cells in the immune system can cause lysis, breaking the infected cell open and destroying it.
  • The lysed cell’s components are then safely removed or recycled by the body.

Cell Lysis in Disease

  • Cell lysis can also occur as a result of a disease or infection.
  • Viruses, for example, often reproduce by injecting their DNA into a host cell and taking over the cell’s machinery to make more virus.
  • Once a new batch of virus particles is ready, they leave the host cell by causing it to lyse, spreading the infection.

Blood and Cell Lysis

  • The process of cell lysis is also critical to many medical and scientific procedures, especially in the field of molecular biology.
  • Blood cells may be lysed to investigate their content, such as during blood tests. Haemolysis, the lysis of red blood cells, is a particular area of interest.
  • To prevent the death of harvested cells in blood samples, blood is often stored in anti-coagulant conditions to prevent clots. The balance of salt, sugar, and water is also maintained to prevent osmotic lysis, where cells can burst due to imbalances in solution concentration.

Lysis Buffer

  • A lysis buffer is a solution used by scientists to break open cells in order to obtain cell components in a controlled manner.
  • This is critical in many areas of research and diagnosis, where it is important to study the inner workings of individual cells.
  • It can contain various substances, depending on the type of cell to be lysed and what components need to be preserved. The buffer works by interrupting the cell membrane, allowing researchers access to the cell’s inner workings.