Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

How many cells can our Blood tolerate?

14.06.2012
Bioinformaticians of Jena University calculated the optimal value of hematocrit with the help of Einstein‘s equation
When people say “Blood is thicker than water,“ they are literally right. Because nearly half of the ‘life liquid’ consists of solid components. The red blood cells form the greatest part of it – all in all around 40 percent of the blood. They contain the red pigment hemoglobin and are responsible for the transport of oxygen.

“It is amazing that the percentage of this component is not only similar in all human beings but also in many other vertebrates,” Prof. Dr. Stefan Schuster of the Friedrich Schiller University Jena (Germany) says. Therefore it can be assumed that this value represents an optimum established by evolution. “If there was a lower volumetric content of blood cells, less oxygen would be transported,” the chair of Bioinformatics of the Biological Pharmaceutical Faculty says. “If there was a higher content, the oxygen transport would be increased. But as the blood would then be more viscous, the speed of transport would go down at the same time.”
As Prof. Schuster and his colleague Dr. Heiko Stark have just found out, the optimal value of hematocrit – which indicates the volume fraction of the red blood cells – can be calculated with an equation that dates from no less a person than Albert Einstein. The ingenious scientist engaged himself not only in the theory of relativity and quantum physics but also in the viscosity of liquids. ”There are already a number of theoretical attempts for calculating the optimal hematocrit value in specialist literature,” Schuster says. The Bioinformaticians of Jena University tried to find out which of those equations would be best suited to express the dependence of the viscosity on the liquid (blood) of the volume of the particles (blood cells) and struck lucky with Einstein. The Jena scientists published their results in the latest edition of the science magazine “Journal of Applied Physiology“(DOI: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00369.2012).

According to this the viscosity of a liquid is dependent on the viscosity of the solvent and the percentage volume of their solid components. Moreover Einstein‘s equation also has the factor 2.5. “If you apply a modification of this equation suggested by Arrhenius to the equation describing the speed of transport and establish the maximum, you obtain the optimum of exactly 40 percent,“ Dr. Stark says and calculates: 1 divided by 2.5 equals 0.4 or 40 percent. Therefore the normal hematocrit of human beings seems to be optimal from the point of view of fluid dynamics as well. This would also explain why the same value can be found in many animal species like for instance in lions, antelopes, goats, elephants and rabbits.

In their article the Bioinformaticists listed the experimentally calculated hematocrit values of a total of 57 species of vertebrates from the literature. “However there are some aberrations from the optimum,“ Stark points out. The hematocrit of seals for instance is considerably higher with 63 percent. “Additional criteria might apply in this case.“ Marine mammals for instance need a bigger capacity to store oxygen as they dive for long periods of time.

With their results the Jena scientists also question the illegal practice of blood doping in sports: This means trying to raise the concentration of the oxygen transporting hemoglobin in the blood and thereby trying to increase the athlete’s performance. This leads to an artificial increase of the hematocrit value. “This is not only a criminal offence, but at the same time its physiological effect is highly questionable according to our calculations“, Prof. Schuster summarizes.

Original Publication:
H. Stark, S. Schuster, Comparison of various approaches to calculating the optimal hematocrit in vertebrates, J. Appl. Physiol. 2012, DOI: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00369.2012

Contact:
Prof. Dr. Stefan Schuster, Dr. Heiko Stark
Chair of Bioinformatics
Friedrich Schiller University Jena
Ernst-Abbe-Platz 2, D-07743 Jena
Germany
Phone: ++49 3641 949580, ++49 3641 949584
Email: stefan.schu[at]uni-jena.de, heiko[at]starkrats.de

Dr. Ute Schönfelder | idw
Further information:
http://www.uni-jena.de/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New photocatalyst speeds up the conversion of carbon dioxide into chemical resources
29.05.2017 | DGIST (Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology)

nachricht Copper hydroxide nanoparticles provide protection against toxic oxygen radicals in cigarette smoke
29.05.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Strathclyde-led research develops world's highest gain high-power laser amplifier

The world's highest gain high power laser amplifier - by many orders of magnitude - has been developed in research led at the University of Strathclyde.

The researchers demonstrated the feasibility of using plasma to amplify short laser pulses of picojoule-level energy up to 100 millijoules, which is a 'gain'...

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New insights into the ancestors of all complex life

29.05.2017 | Earth Sciences

New photocatalyst speeds up the conversion of carbon dioxide into chemical resources

29.05.2017 | Life Sciences

NASA's SDO sees partial eclipse in space

29.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>