Accession Number : ADA330520

Title :   Human Adaptation to Hot Environments,

Corporate Author : ARMY RESEARCH INST OF ENVIRONMENTAL MEDICINE NATICK MA

Personal Author(s) : Wenger, C. B.

PDF Url : ADA330520

Report Date : 20 AUG 1997

Pagination or Media Count : 80

Abstract : Extreme temperatures injure tissue directly. A protein's biological activity depends on the location of electrical charges in the molecule and on its overall configuration. Many physicochemical processes can alter a protein's configuration and charge distribution, and thus change its activity, without affecting the sequence of amino acids. Such alteration of a protein is called denaturation; and by inactivating a cell's proteins, denaturation injures or kills the cell. High temperature can denature proteins, and a familiar illustration of this effect is the coagulation of the albumin in the white of a cooked egg. If living tissue is heated, injury occurs at temperatures higher than about 45 deg C, which is also the temperature at which heating the skin causes pain. The degree of injury depends on both temperature and duration of the heating. As a water-based solution freezes, crystals of pure ice form. Thus all the dissolved substances are left behind in the liquid which has not yet frozen, and which becomes more and more concentrated as more ice forms. Freezing damages cells through two mechanisms. First, ice crystals themselves probably disrupt the cell membranes mechanically. Second, the increase in solute concentration of the cytoplasm as ice forms denatures the proteins by removing their water of hydration, by increasing the ionic strength of the cytoplasm, and by other changes in the physicochemical environment in the cytoplasm.

Descriptors :   *TEMPERATURE, *HUMANS, *ADAPTATION, *HOT REGIONS, MEMBRANES(BIOLOGY), TISSUES(BIOLOGY), DAMAGE, PROTEINS, CRYSTALS, SEQUENCES, SOLUTES, CYTOPLASM, PAIN, PHYSICOCHEMICAL PROPERTIES, CELLS(BIOLOGY), COAGULATION, HYDRATION.

Subject Categories : Anatomy and Physiology

Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE