Thursday, August 20, 1998

What is the effect of Cholera on the human body (chemical/cellular level)?

I have everything else I need, I just cant seem to find the answer I'm looking for anywhere. I need to know how it affects the cells and what exactly is the reason for being unable to retain any water, etc. Thanks.

Answer on What is the effect of Cholera on the human body (chemical/cellular level)?

The toxin produced by cholera bacteria is deadly. It produces massive watery diarrhea, and an infected person can rapidly die from the resulting dehydration. The cholera toxin modifies the G proteins in intestinal epithelial cells such that they become locked in an activated state. As a result, the intracellular cAMP concentration skyrockets. One of the effects of cAMP in these cells is to stimulate an active transport pump that ejects chloride ions (Cl-) from the cells into the lumen of the intestines. Water follows the Cl- by osmosis, and positively charged sodium ions follow the negatively charged Cl-. Thus, cholera toxin causes a huge outflow of Na+, Cl-,and water into the feces. Treatment consists of replacement of lost fluids, either intravenously or by mouth (oral rehydration therapy), plus antibiotic therapy with tetracycline.

Your question: Wouldn't excessive amounts of salt mean that the body will retain all the water the person ingests?

Answer: what the cholera did in your GIT is it reverse the osmotic activity. Instead of absorbing the water, they excreted it in expense of throwing chloride. Always remember that whenever there is SALT, water follows and chloride is undeniably SALT in nature. Sodium will also bind with the chloride which attracts more water. Since Sodium chloride were expelled, it is expected that water will also be thrown away ----- called diarrhea.

HINT: remember the principles of OSMOSIS. The movement of water molecules from lesser to greater concentration. It goes to show that the movement of water is being influenced by higher concentrations. Great example would be the Sodium chloride.