How to delay time for cells
They recently published their findings in the famous journal “Advanced materials“. Cells are not only our biological building blocks, but also highly dynamic active systems. The research group led by Prof. Käs has succeeded in drastically reducing these dynamics with heavy water, without damaging the cells.
“Generally, many people know about heavy water for its important technical use in nuclear power plants. Here we have taken a different approach and have been able to show that for cells, time – or, more precisely, their dynamics – can be. slowed down considerably in the presence of heavy water, “said Käs, who has been devoted to researching the physical properties of cells and tissues. Research has shown at different biological levels that cell movement and dynamics do not took place only at slow motion. “It is very intriguing that cell dynamics can be slowed down at the same temperature. So far, only the theory of relativity has offered such possibilities in the physical context, “Käs explained. He added that the results form the basis of a method to provide cells and organs with more lasting protection. against degeneration.
The researchers confirmed this effect with a variety of complementary methods and attributed the findings to an increased interaction between structural proteins. “Heavy water also forms hydrogen bonds, but these are stronger than in normal aqueous environments. As a result, structural proteins such as actin seem to interact more strongly with each other and briefly stick together. , with cells showing their native properties again as soon as they are transferred to a normal aqueous medium, “said Dr Jörg Schnauß.” What is even more amazing is that these changes show the imprint of a passive material. However, the cells are very active and far from thermodynamic equilibrium. If they behave like passive material, they are usually dead, “Käs added.
However, as the researchers were able to show, this was not the case in their experiments. They now hope that they can use the knowledge gained to keep cells or even vital tissues longer. If this approach is confirmed, heavy water could be used for longer storage times, for example during organ transplants.
Original title of the publication in Advanced materials: “Idle cells: apparent subcooling increases glassy behavior at physiological temperatures”
Warning: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of any press releases posted on EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information via the EurekAlert system.