Difference Between Cytoplasm and Cytosol

Cytoplasm vs Cytosol

Cytoplasm and cytosol are associated with cell. Cytosol is a part of the cytoplasm. Therefore, there is a relationship between these two. Comparison of cytoplasm and cytosol and characteristic features of them are discussed in this article.


Cytoplasm is a transparent semisolid or gelatinous fluid. Both prokaryotic cell and eukaryotic cell contain cytoplasm. All the content of the prokaryotic cell is called cytoplasm. But this is slightly different in eukaryotic cell. In eukaryotic cell, all content except the cell nucleus is called cytoplasm. Cytoplasm contains cytosol, inclusions, and organelles such as Golgi apparatus, mitochondria, ribosome etc. These organelles are membrane bound components, which have special functions. Cytoplasmic inclusions are insoluble small particles, including pigments, granules, droplets and crystals. Almost all the cellular activities are carried out in cytoplasm. Some examples of these activities are cell division, glycolysis, and many biochemical reactions. At the cytoplasm, breaking of macro molecules in to small particles by enzymatic reactions takes place. Also, cell expansion and growth are done at cytoplasm.


Cytosol is the liquid part of the cytoplasm, which fill the spaces in the cells where organelles are absent. This is also called as intracellular fluid or cytoplasmic matrix. It is comprised of organic molecules, cytoskeleton filaments, salt and water. Cytosol makes 70% of the cell. In prokaryotic cells, most of the chemical reactions of the metabolism occur at cytosol. Since main component of the cytosol is water, it is in neutral state. This is very important in chemical reactions. Also, cytosol comprises macro molecules such as nucleic acids, proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids. Multiple functions occur at cytosol including signal transduction, protein biosynthesis, gluconeogenesis. Also rapid water soluble molecule diffusion and transportation of hydrophobic molecules is done through cytosol. Cytosol is responsible for keeping cell structure and shape with the help of cytoskeleton.

What is the difference between Cytosol and Cytoplasm?

• Cytoplasm is a transparent semisolid fluid, which is in both prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. Cytosol is the liquid part of the cytoplasm, and 70% of the cell is made of cytosol. Therefore, the diversity of components in the cytoplasm is greater than that in the cytosol.

• Cytoplasm has three major parts. Those are organelles, cytosol and cytoplasmic inclusions.

• Cytoplasmic inclusions are insoluble particles, which include granules, pigments, droplets and crystals. Some organelles in the cytoplasm are Golgi apparatus, mitochondria, ribosome, Chloroplast (in plant cells) etc..

• Cytosol comprises organic molecules, cytoskeleton filaments, salt, and water.

• Most of the cellular activities occur at cytoplasm, which include cell division, cell growth and expansion, glycolysis, and many biochemical reactions.

• Activities that occur at organelles are also considered as cytoplasmic functions. Some of them are protein synthesis at ribosome, cell respiration at mitochondria etc..

• Some functions of cytosol are signal transduction, protein biosynthesis, gluconeogenesis, diffusion of water soluble molecules, transportation of hydrophobic molecules, and keeping cell shape and structure.

• Most of the metabolic reactions of the prokaryotic cells take place at cytosol. But in eukaryotic cells, most of the metabolic reactions take place at cytoplasm.