Blast cells are progenitor cells, or immature cells, also known as “stem cells”.
These cells give rise to various types of specialized cells. For instance, the cell called “neuroblasts” can generate nerve cells, and “angioblasts” are able to generate blood vessel cells.
Just like the immature precursor cells can give rise to nerve and fat cells, immature hematopoietic cells or blasts in the bone marrow give rise to blood cells.
In fact, our life begins with the maturation of a blast cell, the so-called “blastocyst” (a complex cell structure consisting of approximately 200 cells, which is an embryo on the 5/6 day of its development).
It is worth mentioning that the fact that different types of blasts appear in those parts of the body in which they should not be present, or the appearance of pathological blasts can indicate the occurrence of a serious disease, including cancer.
Bone marrow blast cells
In the bone marrow of a healthy man, hematopoietic stem cells develop into erythrocytes, leucocytes, and platelets. This process is called “hematopoiesis” and takes place throughout all our life.
A stem cell is able to develop into one of two lines of cells — the myeloid or the lymphoid cell line.
If we talk about the myeloid cell line, the blast cells are called “myeloblasts” – the earliest immature instance of myeloid cells. Myeloblasts generate white blood cells or leucocytes.
Since only the functional cells should pass from the bone marrow to the bloodstream, there should not be a lot of blast cells in the blood flowing through the blood vessels. The bone marrow itself contains blast cells, but a healthy person should not have more than a certain number of them.
Even though myeloid lines of cells make up about 85% of cells in the bone marrow, blast cells should make up less than 5%. If their number is greater, this may indicate the occurrence of a disease. In particular, the fact that the human body has circulating myeloblasts can indicate acute myelogenous leukemia and myelodysplastic syndromes.