Cellular hydration can change within minutes under the influence of hormones, nutrients, and oxidative stress. Such short-term modulation of cell volume within a narrow range acts per se as a potent signal which modifies cellular metabolism and gene expression. It appears that cell swelling and cell shrinkage lead to certain opposite patterns of cellular metabolic function. Apparently, hormones and amino acids can trigger those patterns simply by altering cell volume. Thus alterations of cellular hydration may represent another important mechanism for metabolic control and act as another second or third messenger linking cell function to hormonal and environmental alterations.
- Copyright © 1994 the American Physiological Society