Heavy water, a type of regular water that contains extra nuclear molecules, makes time pass a little slower in human cells. In this way, donor organs may remain vital for a longer period.
Researchers from the University of Leipzig you passed To slow down cellular processes with heavy water. The same can be achieved with chemicals, but they do more harm than good. To keep cells or organs fresh for longer, they are usually refrigerated. The heavy water method allows the temperature to remain elevated. Moreover, the effects of this delay are reversible.
Studies on the effects of heavy water on biological processes are scarce. Heavy water is known to affect cell cycle and division, but its exact effects on the entire cell have yet to be studied.
When cells are in a mixture of normal and heavy water, they become less mobile and their cellular processes also go into slow motion. Everything becomes about three times slower. Once placed in plain water, the cells behave normally again. Researchers have identified these effects at different levels, from parts of cells to a group of cells.
heavy hydrogen bonds
The slowing down of cells is caused by the unique properties of heavy water. Water is made up of two hydrogen atoms and an oxygen atom. Hydrogen atoms in heavy water contain not only one proton, like ordinary water atoms, but also a neutron. So these hydrogen atoms are twice as heavy. Therefore, water with heavier hydrogen atoms has different properties than regular water.
The heavy water makes it a little more difficult for the cells to move anyway, because the water they have to push aside is heavier. But there is another effect. Water usually forms hydrogen bonds with and between proteins in the cell. The researchers found that these bonds are stronger with heavy water. As a result, the proteins that give the cell its structure are more closely related to each other. This makes the cells less mobile and also slows down cellular processes.
These findings could have significant implications for organ transplantation and cancer. For example, heavy water may help prevent tumor growth and hopefully slow the breakdown of the transplanted organs. But this requires more research.
The effect of heavy water has been studied before, but in particular the interaction between a few proteins, light Storm bag كيس Physicist at Eindhoven University of Technology. This research group immersed the entire cell inside to see what would happen. It wasn’t done very often, probably because people thought: it would be a mess. The surprise is that even in a complex system like a cell, time slows down.
What they showed is that heavy water can take on the role of hypothermia. The more heavy water there is, the slower the processes in the cell. A mixture containing 70 percent heavy water slows cooling up to 8 degrees. It doesn’t sound like much, but eight degrees below your body temperature is a significant temperature change.
“It’s a great fundamental find,” concludes Storm. A bold experience with a very simple and compact message. I’m curious who will build on this and what we’ll see in return.