Part 2 of week 1 case study

Robert Adlerstein posted Oct 29, 2020 10:27 PM
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Cell morphology refers essentially to the “anatomy” of a cell – its shape, size, form, and structure. Cell morphology is often directly related to cell function. The flagellum, for instance, found on many bacteria and protozoa allow the cell to propel itself through the intestines (Nakamura, & Minamino, 2019). The spike glycoproteins found on the surface of the SARS-CoV-2 virus known as coronavirus allow those cells to attach to and penetrate host cells (Kumar, Nyodu, Maurya & Saxena, 2020).

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A 15 year old male presents after ingesting windshield wiper fluid to get high. Explain what will happen to the following:

Sodium levels
Oncotic pressure

Windshield wiper fluid contains methanol, a substance whose metabolites – particularly formic acid – are extremely toxic. Methanol toxicity can have many symptoms, include loss of vision, metabolic acidosis, respiratory and circulatory failure (Ashurst, Nappe 2020). Osmolarity refers to the concentration of a particular substance in fluid, as measured by the number of osmoles of solute per kilogram of water. Plasma osmolality can normally be measured by calculating the concentration of sodium, glucose, and urea in the bloodstream. When the actual, or measured osmolality is different than the calculated osmolality, an osmolality gap results. In the 15-year old who has ingested windshield wiper fluid, there will be an initial osmolality gap as the methanol in the bloodstream raises the plasma osmolality to a higher level than expected. While sodium – one of the main contributors to plasma osmolality – levels may not change, osmolality will still rise. This will lead to increased osmotic pressure, and the pushing of fluid from the interstitial space into the cells, which in turn can lead to end-organ damage.


Ashurst JV, Nappe TM. Methanol Toxicity. [Updated 2020 Jun 26]. In: StatPearls [Internet].

Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan-. Available from:

Kumar, S., Nyodu, R., Maurya, V. K., & Saxena, S. K. (2020). Morphology, Genome

Organization, Replication, and Pathogenesis of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome

Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Epidemiology, Pathogenesis, Diagnosis, and Therapeutics , 23–31.

Nakamura, S., & Minamino, T. (2019). Flagella-Driven Motility of Bacteria. Biomolecules, 9(7),

279. doi:10.3390/biom9070279

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