Answer to Question #37902 in Biochemistry for yomara

Question #37902
when does water move into a cell?
Expert's answer
In a hypotonic solution, with lower osmolarity than the cytosol, the cell swells as water enters. In their natural environments, cells generally contain higher concentrations of biomolecules and ions than their surroundings, so osmotic pressure tends to drive water into cells. If not somehow counterbalanced, this inward movement of water would distend the plasma membrane and eventually cause bursting of the cell (osmotic lysis).
Several mechanisms have evolved to prevent this catastrophe. In bacteria and plants, the plasma membrane is surrounded by a nonexpandable cell wall of sufficient rigidity and strength to resist osmotic pressure and prevent osmotic lysis. Certain freshwater protists that live in a highly hypotonic medium have an organelle (contractile vacuole) that pumps water out of the cell. In multicellular animals, blood plasma and interstitial fluid (the extracellular fluid of tissues) are maintained at an osmolarity close to that of the cytosol. The high concentration of albumin and other proteins in blood plasma contributes to its osmolarity. Cells also actively pump out ions such as Na_ into the interstitial fluid to stay in osmotic balance with their surroundings.

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