GOODE at ZOOL.UMD.EDU
Fri Apr 14 14:54:14 EST 1995
Wendy and Mark,
I should add that I wouldn't recommend drinking heavy water.
At high concentrations (about 45-50%) D20 starts to have serious
effects on cells. Best documented, to my knowledge is its stabilizing
effect on microtubules. Although the mechanism is probably different,
involving D2O being a slightly poorer solvent than H20 for tubulin
subunits in a dynamic steady state with the microtubule, its effects
are similar to the anticancer drug taxol. That is, in places like the
mitotic spindle where microtubules need to depolymerize, they instead
stay the same length or grow longer. The result is no chromosome
movement to the poles and cells don't divide. If anyone is seriously
interested in the effects I can send references or reprints.
Fortunately (or unfortunately for Wendy's script) you'd have to
drink about half your body weight in heavy water to get this effect,
It would not immediately be lethal, and could be reversed by drinking
normal H20. Its a clever idea for a murder plot but hard to pull off
(I dont have Wendy's original message; could you forward this to her,
From: mthorn at cix.compulink.co.uk
("Mark Thornton") > Subject: Re: heavy water
> Date sent: Tue, 11 Apr 1995 16:40:42 GMT
> Heavy water is no more poisonous than ordinary water except perhaps to
> your bank balance. For chemists its value is that its chemical behaviour
> is (almost) exactly the same as ordinary water, but molecules
> incorporating it can be detected by mass spectrographs because they are
> slightly heavier. This tracing effect is helpful in understanding
> chemical processes.
> Tritiated water (contains tritium oxide) is radioactive. Too much of that
> would be unhealthy, but not because its chemistry is different, just the
> radiation damage.
> The chemical formulae are really the same for all three, but often 'D' is
> substituted for the H to indicate heavy water (or a 'T' to indicate
> tritium oxide). (ie H2O, D2O, T2O where the '2' should be a subscript).
> Mark Thornton
> > Can anyone tell me the chemical formula for heavy water and in what
> > dosage
> > is it harmful. Also what are the symptoms of someone who has ingested
> > too
> > much.
> > I need this info for a sci-fi screenplay that I am writing. (I am
> > not
> > planning an elaborate murder.) :)
> > -Wendy Wolk
> > USC Cinema/TV
More information about the Cellbiol