Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Nano-thermometers show first temperature response differences within living cells

Date:
August 29, 2011
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
Using a modern version of open-wide-and-keep-this-under-your-tongue, scientists today reported taking the temperature of individual cells in the human body, and finding for the first time that temperatures inside do not adhere to the familiar 98.6 degree Fahrenheit norm.

Using a modern version of open-wide-and-keep-this-under-your-tongue, scientists have reported taking the temperature of individual cells in the human body, and finding for the first time that temperatures inside do not adhere to the familiar 98.6 degree Fahrenheit norm. They presented the research at the 242nd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), being held in Denver.

Haw Yang and Liwei Lin, who collaborated on the research, did not use a familiar fever thermometer to check the temperature of cells, the 100 trillion or so microscopic packages of skin, nerve, heart, liver and other material that make up the human body. Cells are so small that almost 60,000 would fit on the head of a common pin. Yang is with Princeton University and Lin is with the University California-Berkeley.

"We used 'nano-thermometers'," Yang explained. "They are quantum dots, semiconductor crystals small enough to go right into an individual cell, where they change color as the temperature changes. We used quantum dots of cadmium and selenium that emit different colors (wavelengths) of light that correspond to temperature, and we can see that as a color change with our instruments."

Yang said that information about the temperatures inside cells is important, but surprisingly lacking among the uncountable terabytes of scientific data available today.

"The inside of a cell is so complicated, and we know very little about it," he pointed out. "When one thinks about chemistry, temperature is one of the most important physical factors that can change in a chemical reaction. So, we really wanted to know more about the chemistry inside a cell, which can tell us more about how the chemistry of life occurs."

Scientists long have suspected that temperatures vary inside individual cells. Yang explained that thousands of biochemical reactions at the basis of life are constantly underway inside cells. Some of those reactions produce energy and heat. But some cells are more active than others, and the unused energy is discharged as heat. Parts of individual cells also may be warmer because they harbor biochemical power plants termed mitochondria for producing energy.

The researchers got that information by inserting the nano-thermometers into mouse cells growing in laboratory dishes. They found temperature differences of a few degrees Fahrenheit between one part of some cells and another, with parts of cells both warmer and cooler than others. Their temperature measurements are not yet accurate enough to give an exact numerical figure. Yang's team also intentionally stimulated cells in ways that boosted the biochemical activity inside cells and observed temperature changes.

Yang says that those temperature changes may have body-wide impacts in determining health and disease. Increases in temperature inside a cell, for instance, may change the way that the genetic material called DNA works, and thus the way that the genes, which are made from DNA, work. Changing the temperature will also change how protein molecular machines operate. At higher temperatures, some proteins may become denatured, shutting down production.

"With these nano thermometer experiments, I believe we are the first to show that the temperature responses inside individual living cells are heterogeneous -- or different," said Yang. "This leads us to our next hypothesis, which is that cells may use differences in temperature as a way to communicate."

Yang's team is now conducting experiments to determine what regulates the temperature inside individual cells. One goal is to apply the information in improving prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Nano-thermometers show first temperature response differences within living cells." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 August 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110828171212.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2011, August 29). Nano-thermometers show first temperature response differences within living cells. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110828171212.htm
American Chemical Society. "Nano-thermometers show first temperature response differences within living cells." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110828171212.htm (accessed August 2, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Texas Quintuplets Head Home

Texas Quintuplets Head Home

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 1, 2014) After four months in the hospital, the first quintuplets to be born at Baylor University Medical Center head home. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Patient Coming to U.S. for Treatment

Ebola Patient Coming to U.S. for Treatment

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 1, 2014) A U.S. aid worker infected with Ebola while working in West Africa will be treated in a high security ward at Emory University in Atlanta. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Vaccine Might Be Coming, But Where's It Been?

Ebola Vaccine Might Be Coming, But Where's It Been?

Newsy (Aug. 1, 2014) Health officials are working to fast-track a vaccine — the West-African Ebola outbreak has killed more than 700. But why didn't we already have one? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Links Certain Birth Control Pills To Breast Cancer

Study Links Certain Birth Control Pills To Breast Cancer

Newsy (Aug. 1, 2014) Previous studies have made the link between birth control and breast cancer, but the latest makes the link to high-estrogen oral contraceptives. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins