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Lanthanum affects proliferation and motility of Tetrahymena

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Lanthanum (La3+), a Ca-channel blocker, affected proliferation of Tetrahymena concentration-dependently in 2% proteose-peptone (PP) medium. The effect increased with decreasing amount of organic matter (2–0.5% PP). Cell motility was affected slightly in low La3+ concentrations but in high concentrations the cells became motionless with rocking movements; however, most cells regained motility after some hours (restored Ca-homeostasis). Addition of La3+ to the PP media caused formation of a fluffy precipitate which was engulfed by the cells. The capacity to form food vacuoles, was normal in proliferating cells but decreased, or ceased, in growth-inhibited cells. Small refractive granules appeared in all treated cells and most abundantly in growth-inhibited cells. The fine structure of treated cells related to whether they were capable, or not, of proliferation. Electron-dense material (La3+) was abundant in food vacuoles, seen on the surface of cells early after exposure to high concentrations, and present in the dense (small refractive) granules. Hence, La3+ apparently enters the cells.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Cell Biology, Zoological Institute, University of Copenhagen, Universitetsparken 15, DK-2100 Copenhagen Ø, Denmark;, Email:

Publication date: December 1, 2003

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