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Crit Care Med. 2003 Aug;31(8 Suppl):S496-501.

Mechanical injury and repair of cells.

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  • 1Department of Cellular Biology and Anatomy and the Institute of Molecular Medicine and Genetics, Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, 30912, USA.



To concisely review the field of cell plasma membrane disruption (torn cell surface) and repair.


Plasma membrane disruption is a common form of cell injury under physiologic conditions, after trauma, in certain muscular dystrophies, and during certain forms of clinical intervention. Rapid repair of a disruption is essential to cell survival and involves a complex and active cell response that includes membrane fusion and cytoskeletal activation. Tissues, such as cardiac and skeletal muscle, adapt to a disruption injury by hypertrophying. Cells adapt by increasing the efficiency of their resealing response.


Plasma membrane disruption is an important cellular event in both health and disease. The disruption repair mechanism is now well understood at the cellular level, but much remains to be learned at the molecular level. Cell and tissue level adaptational responses to the disruption either prevent its further occurrence or facilitate future repairs. Therapeutically useful drugs might result if, using this accumulating knowledge, chemical agents can be developed that can enhance repair or adaptive responses.

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