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How soon do we die without mitosis?

  1. Oct 3, 2003 #1


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    I was wondering last night..

    The turn-over in the human body is very fast, in the gut the cells differentiate from stem cells and after 2-5 days they are already discarded. Blood cells must have an even faster turnover.

    Now I was wondering, if all cells in the body would stop dividing.. how long would it take for the organism -human being- to die, and what would we die of?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 3, 2003 #2


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    My bet would be brain damage due to lack of oxygen. The lack of oxygen caused by a shortage of red blood cells. I believe the heart actually destroys some blood cells just by its mechanical activity. A co-worker of mine has a few artificial heart patents, some of which never entered testing due to their high destruction rate of red cells.

  4. Oct 13, 2003 #3
    Re: how long it will take for us to die

    Good Question.

    I think it will take some time or us to die becoz the most essential organs that are required by an organism to be "alive" - like the heart and the brain ( or CNS) are organs the cells of which have an extremely slow rate of turnover. Maybe THAT'S WHY they have evolved to have an extremely slow rate of turnover- for permanence - in their capacity to store information ( neurons) and so that they are more permanent fixtures.Unlike the cells of the skin or the blood.

    If mitosis stops happening, an organism, will lose the first barrier against infection - i.e the skin, and also the cells of the imune system. So, it is likely to die of a swarm of infectious diseses.
    Maybe infections due to oppurtunistic pathogens like pseudomonas will take hold.

    By the way- I am new. I am a biologist and am interested in learning abt physics etc... to better my understanding of living as well as non living matter.
    Hi to all.

  5. Oct 13, 2003 #4


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    Namaste Pragyan, aap kaise hai? Welcome to the forums!! I am a biochemist and a great fan of Indian movies/music :)

    I was also thinking that an infection due to the lack of white bloodcells would be the main cause.
  6. Oct 14, 2003 #5
    I think this has already been tested. Some forms of chemotherapy kills fast dividing cells, even non-cancerous ones. Hence, the side-effects of chemotherapy could point the way!

  7. Oct 18, 2003 #6
    Namaste Monique- well what a coincidence! Even I am very fond of Indian movies and music!!! [​IMG]

    Well - it is fun being a part of the forum- I found it interesting since people interact well and promptly... and have intersting things to discuss.
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