Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

How calcium ions control muscle power

30.11.2009
Innovative microscope sheds unique light on muscle cells

The penetration of calcium ions, which cause muscle cells to contract, is visible under a TIRF microscope. This innovative microscope, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), sheds unique light on what sets healthy muscles apart from diseased ones.

Calcium ions play a crucial role in muscle cells. When the ions accumulate, they indicate there is work to be done to the muscle cells and that they should therefore contract. As a result, it comes as no surprise that disorders in the calcium balance of muscle cells are the root causes of different muscle diseases.

If the calcium ions exceed a critical concentration, in the case of heat stroke (or in medical terminology: malign hyperthermia) for instance, they trigger an uncontrolled muscle reaction that may be fatal. Because muscle cells develop heat and finally die off if they remain active for too long a period.

Calcium ions penetrate the cell interior via two routes: they are either released inside from the muscle cells' storage chambers or penetrate the cell envelope from outside.

Susan Treves of the Biomedicine Department at the University of Basel examines what goes on around the cell envelope with the help of an innovative device, the TIRF microscope (TIRF stands for Total Internal Reflection Fluorescence). The microscope exploits the fact that light beams, shed at an angle, are totally reflected on optical interfaces. The light beam is therefore captured in the glass slide and only the cell envelope in direct contact with the slide is illuminated.

Consequently, Susan Treves has proved that more calcium ions penetrate the muscle cells of patients with muscle diseases from outside than the muscle cells of healthy persons. Besides the different release from the storage chambers, the changed flow of calcium ions through the cell envelope is now therefore also considered as a potential cause of muscle diseases.

As a result, these diseases appear to have several triggers. These findings do push the prospect of discovering a single drug to cure all muscle diseases into the distant future, but nevertheless a more exact appreciation of the calcium balance of muscle cells aims to help as many patients as possible some day.

Contact
Dr. Susan Treves
Biomedicine Department
University Hospital of Basel
Hebelstrasse 20
4031 Basel
Tel.: +41 61 265 23 73
Email: susan.treves@unibas.ch

| idw
Further information:
http://www.snsf.ch
http://www.unibas.ch

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Study shines light on brain cells that coordinate movement
26.06.2017 | University of Washington Health Sciences/UW Medicine

nachricht New insight into a central biological dogma on ion transport
26.06.2017 | Aarhus University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Study shines light on brain cells that coordinate movement

26.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Smooth propagation of spin waves using gold

26.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Switchable DNA mini-machines store information

26.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>