Thursday, November 20, 2008

cell design 101.4

Question – “How would you design a cell that has very limited space but needs lots of free surface for interaction?”
Answer – Add frills to its free surface. And that’s exactly how intestinal cells are designed.
Intestinal cells are involved in absorption so they need lots of surface where absorption takes place. However, they must also be attached closely and strongly with other intestinal cells. They cannot allow food substances to pass between them. Whatever food we eat, these have to pass through, not between the intestinal cells. Not only that, these cells must also be anchored close to blood vessels so that whatever food they absorb, these can be transferred right away to the blood and then distributed to the rest of our body. So imagine that – the intestinal cell design has so many constraints: anchored at one end, attached to the sides and large free surface area.

Well, good news, - our intestinal cells are designed exactly that way, as shown in the illustration above.

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