AAT Bioquest

What are the differences between cell organelles and cell inclusions?

Posted November 16, 2022


Cell organelles and cell inclusions are two types of cellular structures found embedded in the cell’s cytoplasm. There are several significant differences between the two. 

Cell Organelles: 

  • Cell organelles are living, membrane-bound components of a cell. They occur exclusively in eukaryotic cells. 
  • Every organelle performs a special metabolic function within the cell. The unique biochemical reactions occur inside the cell organelles. They are described as cellular machines. 
  • Cell organelles remain inside the cell at all times. They are not exported out of the cell at any time. 
  • They are self-replicative and capable of growth. 
  • Examples of cell organelles include the nucleus, endoplasmic reticulum, mitochondria, Golgi complex, lysosomes, chloroplasts, microtubules, and centrioles. 

Cell Inclusions

  • Cell inclusions are nonliving components present in the protoplasm of a cell. They occur in both eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells. They are not enclosed by a membrane.
  • Cell inclusions do not carry out any specific metabolic function. They are formed as a result of the functioning of the cell organelles and serve mainly as storage compartments. They store the end products of the biochemical reactions that occur in cell organelles and are described as cellular fuels.  
  • Cell inclusions may be exported out of the cell. 
  • They are not self-replicative and not capable of growth. 
  • Examples of cell inclusions include: glycogen and lipid granules, pigments, nutritive substances, and assorted secretory products. 
Additional resources

Hyperosmotic phase separation: Condensates beyond inclusions, granules and organelles

Cell Structures and Organelles

iFluor® 647-Wheat Germ Agglutinin (WGA) Conjugate