There are different types of cells in human beings and animals. Through years of research, these cells have been classified into many classes according to their different characteristics, such as normal cells, cancer cells, and Hela cells. There are many differences between these types of cells.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What are HeLa Cells
3. What are Normal Cells
4. Similarities – HeLa Cells and Normal Cells
5. HeLa Cells vs Normal Cells in Tabular Form
6. Summary – HeLa Cells vs Normal Cells
What are HeLa Cells?
HeLa cells are immortal cells that have error-filled genomes. It is an immortal cell line extensively used in scientific research. HeLa cells containing cell line is the oldest and most commonly used human cell line. These cells are named after and derived from cervical cancer cells that are taken from Henrietta Lacks, a 31-year-old African American mother of five who died of cancer in October 1951. The cell line containing these HeLa cells was found to be remarkably durable and prolific, which allows this cell line to be used extensively in research.
HeLa cells are cancerous. HeLa cells, like many tumors, have error-filled genomes with one or more copies of many chromosomes. A normal cell contains 46 chromosomes, whereas HeLa cells contain 76 to 80 total chromosomes per cell. Some of these are heavily mutated (22-25) per cell. These mutations are due to Human Papillomavirus (HPV), which causes nearly all cervical cancers. HPV inserts its own DNA into host cells, and the additional DNA results in the production of a p53 binding protein that inhibits and prevents native p53 from repairing mutations and suppressing tumors. This causes errors in the genome to accumulate due to unchecked cell divisions.
What are Normal Cells?
Normal cells are non-immortal cells having normal genomes. Normal cells follow a typical cell cycle. They grow, divide, and die. They listen to the body’s cues and stop reproducing when enough cells are present in the body. Normal cells mature into distinct cell types. These cell types have a specific function. For example, liver cells help the body metabolize proteins, fats, and carbohydrates and help remove alcohol in the blood. However, cancer cells may actually affect behaviour of the normal cells, molecules, and blood vessels near a tumor. Cancer cells may recruit normal cells to develop new blood vessels. These blood vessels keep tumors alive and give them a chance to grow by providing them with the required nutrients and oxygen.
Moreover, normal cells know their place in the body and stay put. But metastatic cancer cells spread to other parts of the body. For example, cancer cells may develop in the lungs and spread to the liver. If this kind of spread occurs, it is called metastatic lung cancer, not liver cancer.
What are the Similarities Between HeLa Cells and Normal Cells?
- HeLa cells and normal cells are two types of cells having different characteristics.
- Both have similar structural elements such as nucleus, plasma membrane, organelles and cytosol.
- They follow their own cell cycles.
What is the Difference Between HeLa Cells and Normal Cells?
HeLa cells are immortal cells having error-filled genomes, while normal cells are non-immortal cells having normal genomes. Thus, this is the key difference between HeLa cells and normal cells. HeLa cells contain 76 to 80 total chromosomes per cell, while normal cells contain 46 total chromosomes per cell.
The below infographic presents the differences between HeLa cells and normal cells in tabular form for side by side comparison.
Summary – HeLa Cells vs Normal Cells
HeLa cells and normal cells are two types of cells. HeLa cells are immortal cells having error-filled genomes. In contrast, normal cells are non-immortal cells having normal genomes. So, this is the key difference between HeLa cells and normal cells.
1. Butanis, Benjamin. “The Importance of Hela Cells: Johns Hopkins Medicine.” The Importance of HeLa Cells | Johns Hopkins Medicine, 18 Feb. 2022.
2. “Normal Cell Growth and Development.” Winchester Hospital.
1. “Cell culture (HeLa cells) (261 16) Cell culture (HeLa cells) – metaphase, prophase” By Doc. RNDr. Josef Reischig, CSc. – Author's archive (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Diagram showing how normal cells make up the tissue in our body CRUK 135” By Cancer Research UK – Original email from CRUK (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia