Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Rat kidneys and toad brains communicate in almost the same manner


Dutch researcher Niels Cornelisse used computer models to study the electrochemical communication between cells from rat kidneys and cells from the pituitary gland of a toad species. He found many similarities in the coupling of chemical and electrical signals in these completely different cells.

Cells transmit electrical and chemical signals to other cells to coordinate the various cellular activities in the organism. Cornelisse made a mathematical model for the link between the chemical calcium signal and the electrical activity of brain cells. With this model he discovered many similarities between the linking of the electrical and chemical signals in a completely different cell type, the tissue cell, even though the cells studied had completely different functions.

Fundamental knowledge about the manner in which cells communicate with each other, could provide insights into diseases, such as cancer or brain disorders, where something goes wrong with the signal transfer between cells.

The brain cell originated from the pituitary gland of the African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis). This cell issues a hormone which regulates the colouration of the skin. This allows the toad to adjust its skin colour to the light intensity of its surroundings. The other cell type, the tissue cell, originated from the supportive tissue of rat kidneys.

Under certain experimental conditions, both cell types exhibit spontaneous electrical activity as well as associated spontaneous variations in the concentration of calcium ions in the cell. Calcium ions ensure the transfer of information within a cell and are, for example, involved in the emission of chemical signals, cell division and muscular contraction.

As well as the many similarities, the researcher also found an important difference in communication between the two cell types. In the toad cell, the link between the chemical calcium signal and the electrical signal was particularly important for initiating the spontaneous cell activity. However, in the rat cell, the link between the two signals mainly ensured the transmission of the calcium signal through a network of cells.

The research was funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research.

Sonja Jacobs | NWO
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Gene therapy shows promise for treating Niemann-Pick disease type C1
27.10.2016 | NIH/National Human Genome Research Institute

nachricht 'Neighbor maps' reveal the genome's 3-D shape
27.10.2016 | International School of Advanced Studies (SISSA)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

How nanoscience will improve our health and lives in the coming years

27.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

OU-led team discovers rare, newborn tri-star system using ALMA

27.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

'Neighbor maps' reveal the genome's 3-D shape

27.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>