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Cellular health: international research shows the first heat map of a red blood cell

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Cellular health: international research shows the first heat map of a red blood cell

A international researchin which the Hospital 12 de Octubre in Madrid has collaborated, has developed the first heat map of a red blood cellA new thermodynamic mapping methodology that allows determining the power of the cell and its mechanical performance as if it were a heat engine. This is a fundamental finding, the researchers explain, which opens the way to determining the cellular health and tissues of the body and which will have “immediate implications” in medical diagnosis and possible applications. in cellular medicine and cancer.

The study, which has just been published in the magazine Science, It is led by the universities of Barcelona and Padua (Italy), and has the participation of the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM), in association with the Translational Biophysics Unit of the 12 de Octubre Public Hospital of the Community of Madrid, in addition from the Georg August Universities of Göttingen (Germany) and Francisco de Vitoria, also from Madrid.

For Professor Francisco Monroy of the Complutense University of Madrid, a researcher associated with the Research Institute of Hospital 12 de Octubre i+12, “the study transcends decades of exploration in cellular biology, presenting the first microscopic map of energyentropy and heat that are being produced by a single cell at any given moment.

heat flow

Researchers have measured for the first time the flow of heat in an individual cell, a process known in physics as entropy production, have been reported since October 12. Entropy is frequently associated with disorder and chaos, but in biology it is closely related to energy efficiency, being in direct connection with metabolism and regulation, that is, the set of chemical reactions that support energy. life from inside the cells.

The discovery of these scientists has “profound implications for the understanding of metabolism and energy transformation in living systems”

“Being able to characterize the production of entropy in living systems is crucial to understanding the efficiency of the processes of energy conversion“says Professor Félix Ritort, a researcher who has coordinated this collaboration from the Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology from the University of Barcelona (IN2UB).

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The discovery of these scientists has “profound implications for the understanding of metabolism and the transformation of energy in living systems,” point out from the Madrid public hospital. “Heat is a symptom of health in the cell and our finding could open a new path to determine cellular and health health.” body tissues“, concludes Ritort.

Calories per second

Entropy production values ​​have been found 10-15 calories per second, the scientists detail. “These are tiny values ​​for the human scale, as small as a billionth of a calorie for each cell. However, it is an extraordinary amount for a cellular machinery of microscopic size that acts at every moment in an exquisitely regulated manner from the human scale.” molecular,” says Monroy.

Professor Francisco Monroy. / OCTOBER 12 HOSPITAL

The professor emphasizes that “the research constitutes a fundamental advance in the physics of the cell, understood as a thermal machine that processes energy and produces entropy in exchange with its own environment.”

The bloodstream

The researchers of this consortium have determined the production of entropy by measuring the active movements of individual red blood cells, called blinking, and the mechanical forces that cause them from inside the cell and that are in relation to its enormous adaptability to the bloodstreamparticularly in the small vessels of the capillary circulation, for example, in the frontal cortex of the human brain where there is a great demand for blood flow and nutrients, they have been specifying since October 12.

The authors have used minimally invasive live methods, both optical manipulation and optical force sensing, as well as time-resolved cellular imaging using ultrafast videomicroscopy with super spatial resolution, a technique in which the group from the Complutense University and Hospital 12 de Octubre is a pioneer.

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A new perspective

“We are witnessing the birth of a new perspective of cellular functioning in terms of heat and forces: optimal and regulated in physiological health conditions, and altered, deregulated or simply dysfunctional in a situation of illness. The applications of cellular heat mapping and entropy production will be immediate in medical diagnosis, making it possible new quantitative and precision forecasts”indicates Monroy.

“Many others still remain unsuspected in the arena of personalized therapies, particularly in cellular medicine, especially for the treatment of metabolic diseases and cancer“concludes the researcher.

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