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Author Topic: What determines the size of cells ?  (Read 9067 times)

Offline anon

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What determines the size of cells ?
« on: 20/01/2003 17:33:16 »
Can anyone explain to me why cells can't get bigger than they are please?
« Last Edit: 31/05/2004 05:26:50 by NakedScientist »


 

Offline chris

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Re: What determines the size of cells ?
« Reply #1 on: 18/04/2003 23:14:13 »
Says who ?

Cells can, and do, change shape in response to the environment they find themselves in and the stimuli applied to them.

For instance, training boosts the size of muscle cells (including heart muscle) as more contractile filaments are laid down in the cells to generate stronger contractions, whilst learning new facts promotes the establishment of new and more powerful connections between nerve cells in the brain.

Eating too much, on the other hand, leads to the accumulation of fat in adipocytes (fat-storing cells beneath the skin and around our inner organs) which become larger the more fat that they store whilst, conversely, dieting or starvation causes the fat cells to shrink as the body burns off the energy in the stored fat.

So, with these few examples to go on, you have to agree that cells in your body can, and do, change shape througout their lives.

Chris
 

Offline Quantumcat

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Re: What determines the size of cells ?
« Reply #2 on: 21/04/2003 15:01:20 »
Maybe he meant .... drastically, as in viewable by the naked eye. Why isn't it possible for a cell to be that big?
 

Offline chris

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Re: What determines the size of cells ?
« Reply #3 on: 21/04/2003 19:15:21 »
Says Who ?

Muscles, such as those those make up your 'pecs' or 'quads' are essentially a single cell !

Muscle cells are a 'true syncitium' formed by the fusion of many cells. If you look at a piece of skeletal muscle down the microscope you see no obvious cellular boundaries and lots of nuclei, each derived from one of the cells that merged to form the muscle and containing the genetic material from that cell, clustered together in the middle of the single muscle 'cell'.

Heart muscle, on the other hand, forms a 'functional syncitium' whereby all of the muscle cells work together, but are not merged together to form a single unit.
 

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Re: What determines the size of cells ?
« Reply #3 on: 21/04/2003 19:15:21 »

 

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