Chemotherapeutic Agents Nursing Pharmacology

Introduction to Cell Physiology

Introduction to Cell Physiology

Chemotherapeutic Agents

  • Alter cellular function or disrupt cellular integrity, causing cell death
  • Prevent cellular reproduction, eventually leading to cell death

Chemotherapeutic Drugs

  • Destroy organisms that invade the body
    • Bacteria, viruses, parasites, protozoa, fungi
  • Destroy abnormal cells within the body
    • Neoplasms and cancers

Parts of a Human Cell

  • Nucleus
  • Cell membrane
  • Cytoplasm

Structure of a Cell

Stucture of a Cell
Stucture of a Cell

Cell Nucleus

  • Contains genetic material
    • Necessary for cell reproduction
    • Regulates cellular production of proteins
  • Each cell is “programmed” by the genes for the production of specific proteins
    • Allows the cell to carry out its function
    • Maintains cell homeostasis or stability
    • Promotes cell division

Cell Membrane

  • Surrounds the cell
  • Separates the intracellular fluid from the extracellular fluid
  • Essential for cellular integrity

Structure of a Lipid Cell Membrane

Structure of a Lipid Cell Membrane
Structure of a Lipid Cell Membrane

Organelles of the Cytoplasm

  • Mitochondria
  • Endoplasmic reticulum
  • Free ribosomes
  • Golgi apparatus
  • Lysosomes

Components of Cell Membrane

  • Cell membrane is made up of lipids and proteins
  • Several lipids make up the cell membrane
    • Phospholipids
    • Glycolipids
    • Cholesterol
  • Lipid layer provides a barrier for the cell and maintains homeostasis of the cell

Receptor Sites

  • Found on the cell membrane
  • Specific receptor sites allow interaction with various chemicals

Identifying Markers

  • Surface antigens
  • Important in the role of cellular immunity
  • Histocompatibility proteins allow for self-identification
  • The body’s immune system recognizes these proteins and acts to protect self-cells and to destroy non–self-cells


  • Channels or pores allow for the passage of substances into and out of the cell
  • Some drugs are designed to affect certain channels within the cell

Cell Properties

  • Endocytosis
    • Involves incorporation of material into the cell
    • Pinocytosis and phagocytosis occur
  • Exocytosis
    • Allows a cell to move a substance to the cell membrane and secrete the substance outside the cell
    • Hormones, neurotransmitters, and enzymes are excreted into the body by this process

Homeostasis of the Cell

  • Passive transport
    • Happens without the expenditure of energy and can occur across any semipermeable membrane
    • Occurs by diffusion, osmosis, and facilitated diffusion
  • Active transport
    • Energy-requiring process
    • Movement of particular substances against a concentration gradient
    • Important in maintaining cell homeostasis

Passive Transport

  • Diffusion
    • Does not require energy
    • The movement of solutes from a region of high concentration to a region of lower concentration across a concentration gradient
  • Osmosis
    • Does not require energy
    • Movement of water from an area low in solutes to an area high in solutes

Phases of the Cell Cycle

  • G0 phase
    • Resting phase
  • G1 phase
    • Gathering phase
  • S phase
    • Synthesizing phase
  • G2 phase
    • Last substances needed for division are collected and produced
  • M phase
    • Actual cell division occurs, producing two identical daughter cells

Cell Cycle

Cell Cycle
Cell Cycle

Cell Physiology

  • May alter the cell membrane, causing the cell to rupture and die
  • May deprive the cell of certain nutrients, altering the proteins that the cell produces and interfering with normal cell functioning and cell division
  • May affect the normal cells of patients to some extent