Difference Between Intracellular and Extracellular Fluids

Intracellular vs Extracellular Fluids

Both interior and exterior have to be in the ideal conditions for anything to perform its functions at the optimum level. That is almost a rule that perfectly applies to the basic unit of life, the cells. Therefore, it would be important to explore the interior and the exterior of the cells. Since there are fluids at both inside and outside of cells, the intracellular and extracellular fluids become the subjects of interest in this article.

Intracellular Fluid

Intracellular fluid is also known as the Cytosol or the cytoplasmic matrix, which is a liquid with many properties to ensure the cellular processes are taken place well without any hassle. Intracellular fluid is limited only to the interior of the cell, and the cell membrane is the boundary of cytosol. The membranes of organelles separate cytosol from the matrices of organelles. Many of the metabolic pathways take place in the intracellular fluid, in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes. However, eukaryotic metabolic pathways are more common inside organelles than in cytosol. The composition of the intracellular fluid is important to know, as it contains mostly water with some ions such as sodium, potassium, chloride, magnesium, and some others. Due to the presence of amino acids, water-soluble proteins, and other molecules, the cytosol has many properties. Despite the fact that there is no membrane to localize the contents of cytosol, there are some confinements of the intracellular fluid that takes place through concentration gradients, protein complexes, cytoskeletal sieving, and protein compartments. It is important to notice that cytoskeleton is not a part of the intracellular fluid, but its structures cause some of the large molecules to be trapped in some places. The intracellular fluid does not perform a specific duty, but it aids in many functions including signal transduction within organelles, provide a place for cytokinesis and protein synthesis, transportation of molecules, and many other. All in all the true essence at ideal concentration in the interior of anything makes sure that its real potentials are pursued, which directly applies to the intracellular fluid and the performance of the cell.

Extracellular Fluid

As the term extracellular means, it is the fluid found outside the cells. In other words, extracellular fluid is the body fluid in which the cells and tissues are facilitated. The membrane bound cells are provided with the required nutrients and other supplements through the extracellular fluids. It mainly consists of sodium, potassium, calcium, chlorides, and bicarbonates. However, the presence of proteins is very rare in the extracellular fluid. The pH is usually maintained around 7.4, and the fluid has buffering capacity to a considerable extent, as well. The presence of glucose in the extracellular fluid is important in regulating the homeostasis with cells, and the usual concentration of glucose in humans is five mill molars (5 mM). Mainly, there are two major types of extracellular fluids known as interstitial fluid and blood plasma. All those discussed factors are the main properties and constituents of interstitial fluids, which is roughly about 12 litres in a fully-grown human. The total volume of blood plasma is about three litres in a human.


What is the difference between Intracellular Fluid and Extracellular Fluid?

• Intracellular fluid is found inside cells while extracellular fluid is found outside the cells.

• The presence of proteins and amino acids is a feature of intracellular fluid while the absence of those is featured in extracellular fluid.

• Both fluids mainly composed of water, but there are more ions in the extracellular fluid than in intracellular fluid.

• Glucose is present in both fluids, but extracellular fluid does not have organelles to break those down to produce energy but intracellular fluid does.

• Concentration gradients, protein complexes, and other properties of intracellular fluid are not common for extracellular fluid.

• Extracellular fluid is of two main types whereas intracellular fluid is of only one type.