AskDefine | Define intracellular

Dictionary Definition

intracellular adj : located or occurring within a cell or cells; "intracellular fluid" [ant: extracellular]

User Contributed Dictionary



From intra- + cellular



  1. Inside or within a cell.
    an intracellular process



Extensive Definition

In cell biology, molecular biology and related fields, the word intracellular means "inside the cell".
It is used in contrast to extracellular (outside the cell). The cell membrane (and, in plants, the cell wall) is the barrier between the two, and chemical composition of intra- and extracellular milieu can be radically different. In most organisms, for example, a Na+/K+ ATPase maintains a high potassium level inside cells while keeping sodium low, leading to chemical excitability.
note: do not get confused between intracellular and intercellular, the latter meaning "between cells".
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