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Hypertonic Solution: Effects and Examples

Referencing Styles : APA | Pages : 1
  • University: Flinders University
  • Country: AU

Hypertonic Solution: Effects and Examples

Solution in which there is a greater concentration of solutes, than other solutions are termed as hypertonic solution. Tonicity of a solution, in biology is referred as a concentration of solute, relative to another solution present on the other side of a membranous cell. The solution present outside cell is termed more hypertonic, if there is a greater concentration of solutes present than cytosol inside walls of the cell. Immersion of cell in a hypertonic solution, tends to make water flow out of the cell due to osmotic pressure, so that the concentration of solute balance out on either side of the membrane of the cell. The cytosol is categorized as hypotonic, exactly opposite to the solution present on the outer side.

The plant cells having hypertonic solution, presence of flexible cell membranes help to pull away from the rigid cell walls, though they are joined at points of the cell wall known as plasmodesmata. The appearance of the cell wall look like pincushion, and the functioning of plasmodesmata nearly stops to function due to constriction, which is a condition known as plasmolysis. The term isotonic, hypertonic, hypotonic in case of plant cells should not be used accurately due to the exertion of pressure on the cell wall, which significantly affects the equilibrium at osmotic equilibrium point. There is a development of intricately designed methods by a lot of organisms to circumvent hypertonicity. For example, fishes living in saltwater are hypertonic to the fish living in it, due to the requirement of large surface area on their gills when coming in contact with sea water to exchange gas, there is a loss of water osmotically to the sea from the cells of the gills. The response is to drink large quantities of salt water, and excrete the excess amount of salt, which is known as osmoregulation.

There is a difference in effects of hypertonic solution in case of both plant and animal cells. Hypertonic solutions have much higher concentration of solutes and less amount of water than a cell. Due to higher concentration of water inside the cells, the total movement of water occurring from inside to outside part of the cell walls, leaving due to cell osmosis, which causes shrinking of cells due to decrease in internal osmotic pressure. Due to osmosis, the water leaves a cell membrane, shrinking the cells in case of a hypertonic solution. In case of animal cells, the red blood cells shrink up due to loss of water. There is a loss of pressure in plant cells also which shrinks down the plasma membrane taking it away from the walls of the cell. Occurrence of crenation takes place, when the movement of water is outward in case of a hypertonic solution.

Plant cells have a large central vacuole through which diffusion of water occurs during osmosis because of which there is a loss of water from both the cytoplasm and the vacuole shrinking them up to a certain extent. Due to plasmolysis, the plasma membrane pulls away from the walls of the cell and the cell walls become more flaccid and less turgid. There is no shrinking of the cell wall due to the strength and rigidity of the cell.

There are many hypertonic solutions present, and here are a few of the examples that can be provided:

  • Solutions containing salt or saline solutions is hypertonic in nature. This kind of hypertonic solution is very commonly available. Saline solutions are mostly used in the medical field, as well as contact lens fluid, that keeps the lenses clean and free from pollutants and dust.
  • Solution of 5% dextrose and 0.45% sodium chloride, is a type of hypertonic solution, even a solution of 5% dextrose and 0.9% sodium chloride is also a hypertonic solution. These hypertonic solutions are used in administering IV drips in hospitals for the nourishment of a sick person or an injured individual who is having problems with consumption of food as well as liquid substances, or other individuals that are dehydrated.
  • The presence of 75% sodium chloride ( NaCl ) concentration in a cell, any solution having a higher concentration of sodium chloride is hypertonic to the solution, which is true for any hypertonic solution.
  • The solution is hypertonic if the combination of both the sodium and chloride is higher than the amount of sodium and chloride present within the blood plasma of an individual for which the solution is being administered.
  • The corn syrup is a hypertonic solution when compared to the cells inside a living organism, because in case of a corn syrup solution there is presence of more solute inside the cells present in the body.
  • The sugar present in the blood of an individual is glucose. Hypertonic solution with glucose dissolved in it or any plain glucose solution having a concentration of glucose more than 5%. There are other examples of solutions where 10% dextrose with water also known as D10W is also used as an IV fluid.
  • The solutions allowing flow of fluid across a membrane is termed as a hypertonic solution, because the hypertonic solution is referred as any solution with a higher concentration of solute inside than outside.
  • The presence of large quantities of bodily fluids like salt, thus forming hypertonic solutions, the dehydration of body occurs which is necessary to rehydrate to help a sick person recuperate from illness. The body systems can become hypertonic, when there is a lack of consumption of water. Livers, kidneys for example can become hypertonic leading to failure of organs inside the body.

Difference between Hypertonic and Isotonic Solution

There is a higher level of presence of solute outside the walls of the cells in case of hypertonic solution but not in case of isotonic solution. The presence of high level of solute in both isotonic and hypertonic solution. The hypertonic solution if uncontrolled, may lead to death of the cells, however in case of isotonic solution cell death will not occur. Wrinkling or shriveling of cell occurs in case of hypertonic solution but not in case of isotonic solution. Hypertonicity leads to plasmolysis in case of plant cells. The movement of water occurs via osmosis in case of hypertonic solutions whereas movement of water does not occur through osmosis in case of isotonic solution. The low concentration of cells causes it to swell and therefore it is helpful for preservation of food, but in case of isotonic solution the concentration of solute is equal and thus have no effect on cells.

Isotonic solutions are solutions that have equal osmotic pressure whereas hypertonic solutions are solutions that have comparatively higher osmotic pressure. The concentration of solute is equal for isotonic solutions but in case of hypertonic solution, there is a higher concentration of solute. There is no effect of isotonic environment on the behavior of a cell whereas in hypertonic environment there is a shrinking of cell that occurs.

The regulation of water in the human body with special proteins called osmoreceptor, in human kidney, osmoregulation in sea turtle, the flooding of plant cells making it turgid due to exertion of osmotic pressure due to the influx of water. The effects of water in the plasma membrane of the cell surrounding the plasma membrane for transportation of protein are some examples example of hypertonic solution. The shrinking of cells due to osmotic pressure in presence of more solute outside the membranes of the cells that force the cells to shrink and move inward. Isotonic solutions differ from hypertonic solution based on the quantity of solute present in case of both the hypertonic and isotonic solutions.

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