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Keywords:

  • cells;
  • osmosis;
  • volume regulation;
  • water

Abstract

The osmotic responsiveness of cell water has been re-evaluated of reports on the osmotic behaviour of cells. In seven animal cell types, the osmotically unresponsive water (OUR) fraction values ranged from 0.75 to 2.41 g water/g dry mass (g/g), and from 25 to 92% of the total cell water. Protein confirmation, aggregation and crowding play a major, but under-recognised, role in determining the extent of OUR and the regulation of cell volume. Volume regulation studies that do not take into account the role of OUR must be judged incomplete.