Intracellular

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The term intracellular refers to everything, that is contained inside the plasma membrane that separates a cell from its external environment. (Lewin et al., 2007, p32)[1] The intracellular components of the cell include the membrane-bound organelles (i.e. the mitochondria) and cytosol. The term "intra" means "within something"[2] and so the term intracellular can be construed to mean "within cell".

The intracellular medium of a cell is often referred to, when discussing the differences in concentration of ions between the extracellular and intracellular fluids. For example, the intracellular fluid contains higher concentrations of potassium ions but lower levels of sodium ions in comparison to the extracellular medium[3]. These differences are important in many cellular functions such as generating action potentials.

References

  1. Lewin, B., Cassimeris, L., Lingappa V., Polopper G., 2007. Cells. 1st ed. Sudbury: Jones and Bartlett Publishers, Inc.
  2. 2013. Merriam-Webster Dictionary. [online] Available at: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/intra [Accessed 18 November 2013].
  3. Lewin, B., Cassimeris, L., Lingappa V., Polopper G., 2007. Cells. 1st ed. Sudbury: Jones and Bartlett Publishers, Inc.
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