symplectic metachronism -->
metachronism
medical dictionary

<cell biology> Type of synchrony found in the beating of cilia. A metachronal process is one that happens at a later time and the synchronisation is such that the active stroke of an adjacent cilium is slightly delayed so as to minimise the hydrodynamic interference, coordination is by visco mechanical coupling. Different patterns of metachronal synchronisation are recognised:

Symplectic metachronism: the wave of activity in the field passes in the same direction as the active stroke of the individual cilium.

Antiplectic metachronism: the opposite is true.

In dexioplectic and laeoplectic metachronism the wave of activity in the field is normal to the beat axis. Symplectic and antiplectic metachronism are considered orthoplectic, the other forms as diaplectic.

(05 Jan 1998)