target cell


S: EJ – (last access: 19 November 2020); ASM – (last access: 19 November 2020).

N: 1. c. 1300, “shield,” diminutive of late Old English targe, from Old French targe “light shield” (12c.), from Frankish *targa “shield,” from Proto-Germanic *targ- (source also of Old High German zarga “edging, border,” German zarge “border, edge, frame,” Old English targe, Old Norse targa “shield, buckler”), perhaps it was originally “edge of a shield.” Meaning “round object to be aimed at in shooting” first recorded 1757, originally in archery, and  perhaps suggested by the concentric circles in both. Target-practice is from 1801. Target audience is by 1951; early reference is to Cold War psychological warfare. Cell comes from early 12c., “small monastery, subordinate monastery” (from Medieval Latin in this sense), later “small room for a monk or a nun in a monastic establishment; a hermit’s dwelling” (c. 1300), from Latin cella “small room, store room, hut,” related to Latin celare “to hide, conceal,” from PIE root *kel-  “to cover, conceal, save.”  It was used in biology by 17c. of various cavities (wood structure, segments of fruit, bee combs), gradually focusing to the modern sense of “basic structure of all living organisms” (which Oxford English Dictionary dates to 1845).
2. It is a cell that is affected by a drug substance or a virus.
3.A hormone can have different effects depending on the target cell’s location, the gender of the individual and the species. For instance, estrogen released from a women’s ovaries prepares the uterus for monthly menstrual cycles, while the same molecule binds with bone cells to maintain bone strength.
4. Once released, hormones travel throughout the body looking for target cells that contain matching receptors. The hormone binds with the receptor, something like how a key fits a lock to unlock a door. Hormones, like keys, need to have a compatible receptor, or lock, in order to work. In the same way that a skeleton key cannot open a car door, a male sex hormone cannot produce masculine features if the target cell does not have receptors, or locks, that can read the hormone, or accept the key.

S: 1. OED – (last access: 20 November 2020); (last access: 20 November 2020). 2. WOL – (last access: 19 November 2020). 3&4. EH –  (last access: 19 November 2020).


CR: drug substance, drug product, virus.