Though they're perhaps not as well known publicly as, say, the names of viruses or diseases, inclusion bodies are nevertheless an important component of human health - or, that is, the lack thereof. Typically appearing part and parcel with viruses and diseases, inclusion bodies are not pleasant formations to have inside a body, and thus far are proving almost universally troublesome.
The nature of inclusion bodies is somewhat hinted at in the name: they're abnormal structures that build up in the nucleus or cytoplasm of cells, both human and animal. These structures, usually visible after staining and observation under a microscope, heavily hint at the presence of foul play in a cell, whether viral or genetic. Usually composed of protein, inclusion bodies are not a pleasant find and usually indicate current trouble or problems to come in a body.
The appearance, nature and incorporation of inclusion bodies into human cells varies from body to body, generally depending on the nature of the disease with which they're traveling. The same inclusion bodies tend to appear with the same diseases, thus giving researchers and geneticists a good idea of what they're dealing with when studying a cellular sample. They also appear in different parts of the body depending on the problem, another solid indication of which virus or disease is at work.
There are dozens of identified inclusion bodies, most of which are paired with their own health problem. Some of them are quite rare, and correspondingly appear only with rare diseases that humans aren't likely to get in their lifetime. That said, there are plenty of relatively common diseases and health problems associated with inclusion bodies that are deserving of note. A few of the more notable ones appear below.
- Inclusion body myositis is named in particular for inclusion bodies, and is a nasty disease that can, over time, cause a body's muscles to weaken - to the point that the sufferer is often confined to a wheelchair. See this page for more complete information on inclusion body myositis.
- Rabies, a common disease found in animals and humans alike and quite painful to alleviate, is often associated with negri bodies, another form of inclusion body.
- B-type inclusions, otherwise known as Guarnieri bodies, often appear in sufferers of smallpox.
- Herpes, a common viral disease, is sometimes the result of a cytomegalovirus - and stains of infected cells further show evidence of inclusion bodies. Their particular shape has earned them the nickname 'owl's eyes'. Herpes is also associated with the Cowdry Type A inclusion body.
- Additionally, the Cowdry inclusion body is typically split into two types - Type A and Type B - with Type A also being associated with Yellow Fever and Type B with polio.
- Cancerous cells are sometimes associated with Russell bodies, another form of inclusion bodies. Russell bodies are sometimes hypothesized to hint at a bacterial cause for cancer.
It should be noted, in closing, that inclusion bodies are not a facet of human cells that most people should worry too much about or try to identify. Drawing false conclusions based on the findings under a microscope can make for quick misunderstandings and health-related problems. Always consult an expert when sick, and leave inclusion body study in their hands.