What needed more energy, the secretory cell or the sensation cell?

Updated Jul 1

When a nerve cell fires, it depolarises its plasma membrane (in a wave, which is how the signal travels down the length of the cell). Then, it has to repolarise the membrane (using the sodium-potassium pump, which uses a lot of energy) before the next firing. A very large percentage of your body’s glucose is used by your brain.

On the other hand, a secretory cell is, by definition, sending out products and materials. Those products take energy to assemble, and then they are spewed out, and cannot be recycled.

A secretory cell will have a lot of carbon and carbon skeletons leaving its system, as they are assembled into final products. It will need a lot of energy (in terms of burning glucose, etc) in order to disassemble, and then reassemble, and export more of these things.

Every time a cell assembles something (down to just each residue in a peptide, or each 2-carbon unit in a fatty acid) consumes an energy unit, and burns an ATP.

Secretory cells also need a large number of Golgi stacks and other export machinery. Plus, raw materials like amino acids need to be replaced, so the cell will be using energy for importing from the environment

So it’s hard to say. Maybe it depends on how active the cells are at that particular moment.

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