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 Russian scientists show changes in the erythrocyte nanostructure under stress
22.02.2019 | Lobachevsky University

nachricht How the intestinal fungus Candida albicans shapes our immune system
22.02.2019 | Exzellenzcluster Präzisionsmedizin für chronische Entzündungserkrankungen

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: (Re)solving the jet/cocoon riddle of a gravitational wave event

An international research team including astronomers from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has combined radio telescopes from five continents to prove the existence of a narrow stream of material, a so-called jet, emerging from the only gravitational wave event involving two neutron stars observed so far. With its high sensitivity and excellent performance, the 100-m radio telescope in Effelsberg played an important role in the observations.

In August 2017, two neutron stars were observed colliding, producing gravitational waves that were detected by the American LIGO and European Virgo detectors....

Im Focus: Light from a roll – hybrid OLED creates innovative and functional luminous surfaces

Up to now, OLEDs have been used exclusively as a novel lighting technology for use in luminaires and lamps. However, flexible organic technology can offer much more: as an active lighting surface, it can be combined with a wide variety of materials, not just to modify but to revolutionize the functionality and design of countless existing products. To exemplify this, the Fraunhofer FEP together with the company EMDE development of light GmbH will be presenting hybrid flexible OLEDs integrated into textile designs within the EU-funded project PI-SCALE for the first time at LOPEC (March 19-21, 2019 in Munich, Germany) as examples of some of the many possible applications.

The Fraunhofer FEP, a provider of research and development services in the field of organic electronics, has long been involved in the development of...

Im Focus: Regensburg physicists watch electron transfer in a single molecule

For the first time, an international team of scientists based in Regensburg, Germany, has recorded the orbitals of single molecules in different charge states in a novel type of microscopy. The research findings are published under the title “Mapping orbital changes upon electron transfer with tunneling microscopy on insulators” in the prestigious journal “Nature”.

The building blocks of matter surrounding us are atoms and molecules. The properties of that matter, however, are often not set by these building blocks...

Im Focus: University of Konstanz gains new insights into the recent development of the human immune system

Scientists at the University of Konstanz identify fierce competition between the human immune system and bacterial pathogens

Cell biologists from the University of Konstanz shed light on a recent evolutionary process in the human immune system and publish their findings in the...

Im Focus: Transformation through Light

Laser physicists have taken snapshots of carbon molecules C₆₀ showing how they transform in intense infrared light

When carbon molecules C₆₀ are exposed to an intense infrared light, they change their ball-like structure to a more elongated version. This has now been...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Global Legal Hackathon at HAW Hamburg

11.02.2019 | Event News

The world of quantum chemistry meets in Heidelberg

30.01.2019 | Event News

Our digital society in 2040

16.01.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

JILA researchers make coldest quantum gas of molecules

22.02.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Understanding high efficiency of deep ultraviolet LEDs

22.02.2019 | Materials Sciences

Russian scientists show changes in the erythrocyte nanostructure under stress

22.02.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>