Synchronization between beating cilia

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A novel quantitative parameter is proposed to define and measure the degree of synchronization between two small ciliary areas. These areas can be close to or far from one another. The Pearson correlation factor is used to define the degree of synchronization by a single number. This approach is based on a computerized, dual photoelectric method which simulataneously measures the scattered light from two small areas on the ciliary epithelium or its tissue culture. The measurements were performed on tissue culture from frog's palate epithelium. It was found that: (a) the degree of synchronization decreases, as a function of distance; (b) the correlation is fairly high even at relatively large separations, when measured on the same patch; (c) on a given patch the synchronization factor is independent of the direction of the metachronal wave; (d) close disconnected ciliary cells exhibit fairly high correlation; (e) disconnected randomly choosen ciliary cells at relatively large separation distances exhibit relatively low correlation, smaller by a factor of 2 than the correlation factor at the same distances when measured along the metachronal wave; (f) the average frequencies' ratio and the metachronal wavelength can be used as first-order indicators of ciliary synchronization; (g) there is a spread of metachronal wavelengths even over a single well-organized patch.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-191
Number of pages9
JournalBiophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1989


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