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What are the characteristics of fibrous connective tissue?

Written by Ysandra Prille A. Tabilon

Fibrous connective tissue (FCT) is the most diverse type of connective tissue in your body. It is also referred to as fibroconnective tissue or connective tissue proper. It is usually located in the muscles, tendons, bones, ligaments, and skin, among other places.

As its name implies, it contains a lot of prominent fibers. To be precise, it consists of Collagen, Reticular, and Elastic fibers. Based on the relative quantity of these fibers, they can be loose or dense connective tissue.

The majority of the collagen fibers are in a parallel pattern. This type of fiber is well-known for strengthening and stabilizing your body. It is present in your muscles, bones, and other parts of your body that offer structural support.

Other than fibers, it also consists of a few cells and little ground substance. Its cells include fibroblasts, macrophages, leukocytes, plasma cells, mast cells, and adipocytes.

In general, it serves to support and absorb shock in your bones, tissues, and organs. It also provides strength to the inner layer of your skin. Thus, allowing it to withstand the stresses associated with joint movements.

This high-strength and stretchy tissue also help to absorb movement’s shock. As a result, it assists in protecting vital organs and tissues. There would be damage to your organs if they were not supported by fibrous connective tissue.

What are the connective tissue fiber types?

Connective tissue consists of three distinct types of fibers. What you need to know are the following:

Collagen fibers. They are fibrous proteins composed of type 1 collagen. They are the strongest and most abundant of all connective tissue fibers. They are often referred to as white fibers. It is due to the sparkling white appearance of new collagen fibers in tendons.

This fiber is the primary component of your tendons, cartilage, ligaments, and dermis. It is then secreted into the extracellular space. Here they supply your tissues with varying degrees of strength and rigidity. Additionally, they are flexible and have a high tensile strength that resists stretching.

Elastic fibers. They contain the elastin and fibrillin proteins. These long, thin fibers form a branching network within the extracellular matrix. They are usually referred to as yellow fibers due to the yellowish color of new elastic fibers.

These fibers exhibit a unique property known as elastic recoil. Hence, they resemble coiled metal springs. This is because they can recoil to their original shape upon stretching.

They are predominant in the walls of large blood vessels and elastic cartilages. They are also present in yellow ligaments, the lungs, the urinary bladder, and the skin.

Reticular fibers. These fibers also referred to as argyrophilic fibers, consist of collagen type III. They are short, fine collagenous fibers covered with glycoproteins. They branch to form a delicate mesh-like network in organs such as the spleen, kidneys, and lymph nodes.

They are prevalent in areas where connective tissue connects to other tissues. This includes the basement membrane of epithelial tissues, capillary endothelial, and muscle fibers. Also, they provide structural support for your liver and lymphoid organs, among others.

These fibers, in general, form a functional and structural unit that supports tissues. Its disorganized structure also allows for molecular mobility within the extracellular fluid.

What does collagen do to your body?

What are the characteristics of fibrous connective tissue?

Collagen is your body’s most abundant protein. Connective tissue cells secrete it, and it’s present in the extracellular matrix. This protein then assists in the formation of fibroblasts. This is a fibrous network of cells on which new cells can grow.

It helps to build and support your body components by forming fibers. This applies to your bones, cartilage, muscles, skin, hair, eyes, and others. Some also serve as protective coverings for delicate organs like the kidneys. It is not only beneficial but also essential for your health and wellness.

This protein comes in various forms, each with its own set of properties and functions. The four most common collagen types are as follows:

Type I. The most common and plentiful amount of this protein. It is present in connective tissue. This includes your skin, ligaments, teeth, bones, and tendons.

Type II. It is present in cartilages that form tough, flexible tissues in body parts. This includes your joints, intervertebral discs, ears, and nose.

Type III. The main component of reticular fibers. It is present in your skin, intestines, and blood vessels. It helps with blood clots and healing wounds.

Type IV. It is a component of your kidneys, inner ears, and eye lens.

As people age, there will be a considerable decline in collagen production. This leads to wrinkles, weaker cartilage in joints, and other changes. This problem can be alarming to others who are conscious of their appearance and health.

If you are one of those individuals, have no fear. Collagen possesses a variety of health benefits. It helps in the replacement and restoration of your dead skin cells. It is famous in the cosmetic business for its ability to rejuvenate the skin and make you appear younger. These supplements have risen in popularity as a result.

But, other than that, this protein has other health benefits for your body. This includes the following:

  • Keep bones strong and healthy (prevent bone loss and reduce Osteoarthritis pain)
  • Promote Healthy joints (relieve joint aches and pain)
  • Promotes skin elasticity and hydration (skin revitalization)
  • Boost muscle mass (increase body and muscle mass)
  • Promotes wound healing and new tissue growth

Other potential health benefits are also mentioned. But, there hasn’t been much research into them. It includes the following:

  • Thicker hair
  • Healthier and stronger nails
  • Weight loss (may speed up metabolism and promote weight loss)
  • Promote Gut health
  • Promote Brain health (may reduce anxiety and improve mood)
  • Promote heart health (may reduce the risk of heart conditions)

Is it good to take collagen?

Celebrities and social media keep on marketing collagen supplements. Your friends may even be gushing about how taking it has improved the appearance of their skin and hair. But, the primary question is this: Is it good for you?

At present, studies and debates on collagen’s safety and effectiveness are still ongoing. But, so far, it appears to have a wide range of potential health benefits. These supplements are unlikely to harm you, but they aren’t always necessary either.

Whether we take collagen supplements or not, our bodies produce it naturally due to the foods we eat. This includes ingesting foods rich in vitamin C, zinc, copper, glycine, and proline.

Supplements may provide you with increased levels of some amino acids, but not all. Healthy eating still works better than relying on a supplement.

It’s your choice if you want to buy these supplements. They are available in tablets, capsules, and powder forms. It is already hydrolyzed for it to absorb in your body easier. Depending on your needs, you can choose from a selection of supplement types.

According to healthcare professionals, taking supplements is good and generally safe. Most people don’t experience adverse side effects. But, others may still experience mild sideeffects such as diarrhea, rashes, and others. Please consult your physician before taking a new supplement or increasing its usage.

Should you take collagen every day?

Since your body produces collagen, supplements may not be necessary. You may choose to do so to gain benefits or treat conditions like collagen deficiency. The amount of a supplement to take depends on its form and purpose.

Depending on the form of the supplement:

  • Hydrolyzed collagen: 2.5-15 grams of it each day may be effective for skin, bone, and hair health.
  • Undenatured collagen: 10-40 milligrams per day can improve joint health.
  • Gelatin: 1-2 tablespoons of powder or 1-2 pieces of a pill/gummy is recommended daily

These servings can differ in collagen content depending on the supplement. Hence, there is a need to look over the recommended daily dosage on the instruction. Also, it is vital to follow any instructions provided.

Depending on the benefit:

  • Skin and Hair: 2.5 to 10 grams per day can be beneficial for skin and hair health
  • Muscle: 15 to 20 grams per day can aid in muscle mass, muscle strength, body composition
  • Joint: 2.5 to 5 grams a day may help joint support
  • Bone: 5 grams per day improves bone density

Currently, there is no official specification for the correct usage of this protein. The optimal dose and frequency of administration are unknown at the moment. But research indicates that using supplements on a daily basis is acceptable.

Some individuals take between 2 and 15 grams of collagen daily for at least 12 weeks. This protein is generally considered to be a safe and nontoxic daily supplement. The majority of people will experience no adverse effects.

Yet, ingesting an excessive amount may result in unwanted side effects. This includes an unappealing aftertaste and an increased sense of fullness. Thus, it is imperative to consult your physician on proper collagen intake.

Does collagen make you gain weight?

A lot of people believe collagen contributes to weight gain. It may be because it is the body’s most abundant protein. But, as a matter of fact, collagen does not cause weight gain. Rather than that, it is a crucial tool for helping you maintain a healthy weight. This is how

It reduces body fat (Metabolism support).

This protein is a powerful tool for building lean muscle mass. Building lean muscle mass helps your body burn calories, supporting your metabolism. This is why this protein is popular among fitness and health influencers. It helps keep metabolism healthy to burn fats.

It helps you feel full.

Taking collagen helps you feel full and suppresses appetite hormones such as ghrelin. This allows you to consume less food, thus eliminating unnecessary calories. In exchange, you will increase your body’s fat-burning capacity.

It enhances workout readiness.

Supplement of this protein contributes to a faster recovery time following an exercise.

Additionally, it alleviates aching muscles and joint pain and helps prevent workout-related injuries. It also helps in the healing process if you have an open wound. This allows you to return to the gym the following day and continue to lose pounds.

Along with proper diet and exercise, collagen can aid you in your weight loss journey.

Besides that, it can also help you deal with the adverse side effects of weight reduction. A daily dose of one to two powder/gelatin scoops can already do wonders for your body.

Can collagen make your hair grow?

Collagen does not directly stimulate or speed hair growth. But instead, it has an effect on the health of your hair follicle, which is essential for optimal growth. It performs this by lining the inner sack of the hair follicle and the dermis from which a hair grows. It then strengthens and elasticizes its structure.

Hair thinning or hair loss is a natural part of aging. This occurs due to natural collagen depletion or damage to the follicle. Taking collagen provides your body with the building blocks needed to produce hair.

It also promotes the health of the skin on the scalp, resulting in healthier, thicker hair. Other than that, it also has many other health benefits for your hair, including the following:

  • Provides amino acids used to build hair
  • Help prevent damage to hair follicles
  • Help to prevent hair thinning caused by aging
  • Help slow graying of hair
  • Hydrates the hair and scalp
  • Provides antioxidant support
  • Improves overall appearance of the hair
  • Add volume and makes the hair shiny

As with any supplement, individual results may vary. It’s worth taking supplements for several months to see if it improves hair health. Take caution not to overdose with supplements since this can cause adverse effects.

Does collagen have side effects?

In general, collagen supplements are well tolerated and appear to be safe for most people.

Yet, there are a few reports of adverse reactions. These supplements may cause mild side effects, which may include the following:

  • Diarrhea. This occurs when the GIT is having a hard time breaking down supplements.
  • Constipation. This is due to too much protein and insufficient fluid and fiber in the gut.
  • Bloating. This occurs due to many gases in the stomach
  • Feeling of fullness. Collagen impacts appetite and intake after meals leading to a decrease in appetite
  • Allergic Reactions. Some supplements contain dairy or shellfish products that cause allergic reactions to others.
  • An unpleasant taste. Some may experience a bad taste in their mouth following consumption.
  • Kidney stone. Hydroxyproline in collagen peptides may pose a risk and trigger kidney stone formation.
  • Hypercalcemia. Supplements may raise calcium to an unhealthy level.
  • Affects mood. This may cause mood alterations leading to anxiety, depression, nervousness, and irritability
  • Skin breakouts or Rashes. Possible inflammation due to the formula’s preservatives, additives, and heavy metals.

Some individuals have reported other adverse side effects, including:

  • bone pain
  • fatigue
  • heart arrhythmia

Before taking supplements, discuss your health history with your physician. If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, you may want to avoid taking supplements for a while. This is because there isn’t enough research to draw conclusions about their safety.

References:

Baron, A. & Enzor, L. (2021, October 19) What is Fibrous Connective Tissue? from https://study.com/learn/lesson/fibrous-connective-tissue.html

Carter, A. (2019, June 1) What to know about collagen supplements. MedicalNewsToday.

Characteristics of Connective Tissue. (2020, August 14) from libretexts

Duggan, C. (2022, February 22) Collagen Peptides for Hair: Benefits and How to Use. Byrdie from byrdie/collagen peptides for hair

Engler, A. (2022, March 28) How Much Collagen Should You Take Per Day? Experts Explain Dosage, Results & Benefits from a Mind Body Green article.

FACE Med Store (n.d.) What are the Side Effects of Collagen Peptides? from FACE Med Store blog.

Fibrous Connective Tissue: Function & Types. (2013, May 22) from Study.com

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Kane (2022, April 11) Does Taking Collagen Make You Gain Weight? from the The Mode Mag.

McIntosh, J. (2017, June 16) What is collagen, and why do people use it? from MedicalNewsToday.

One Ocean Beauty (2021, April 1) Does Collagen Cause Weight Gain? from One Ocean Beauty blog.

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The hair fuel (2018, December 5) Collagen Pills don’t improve hair growth and here is why. The Hair Fuel.

Tonye A. Ogele, Fibrous Connective Tissue. OpenStax CNX. Nov 20, 2013 from cnx

Van de Walle, G. & Richter, A. (2021, December 21) Top 6 Benefits of Taking Collagen Supplements. Healthline.

Vaskovic, J. (2022, March 28) Overview and types of connective tissue. Kenhub.

Underferth, D. (2021, July 1) Should I take a collagen supplement? MD Anderson. from mdanderson

What are the three types of cartilage? 

Written by Jose Emmanuel Cisneros

What are the three types of cartilage?
Photo by RF._.studio on Pexels.com

The three types of cartilage in the body include elastic, hyaline, and fibrocartilage. These three tissues differ in their strength, body location, and extracellular matrix (ECM).

Cartilage is a connective tissue denser than the blood but less dense than the bone. It has chondrocytes that produce extracellular matrix (ECM). It contributes to the growth of cells and tissues. These materials lie in spaces called lacunae housing eight chondrocytes each.

This connective flesh in the body is flexible and avascular. Thus, this tissue can support, cushion organs, and aid body locomotion. 

At a microscopic level, each body tissue has its particular characteristic. Its difference in appearance and (sometimes) function aid histologists in determining their importance.

1. Elastic Cartilage      

It also goes by its other name, yellow cartilage. The elastic fiber and collagen fiber network contribute to its color. These fibers usually give off yellow color. And this is all thanks to the principal protein making up the fiber called elastin.

This one resembles the structure of hyaline cartilage. But the only difference is the number of elastic fibers: the elastic has more of this. This characteristic enables the tissue to have great flexibility that withstands continuous bending.

2. Hyaline Cartilage

It encompasses most of the cartilages of the body. They consist of a translucent protoplasm studded with one or two round nuclei. Sometimes, you can see interlacing filaments on the granulated matrix. 

The hyaline contains collagen fibers the most, attributing to the glass-like appearance. It has no nerve or blood vessel network. This function makes it a perfect cushion for covering different organs.

3. Fibrocartilage or Fibrous Cartilage   

This tissue contains the most collagen fiber among the three, with Type I and Type II. It has a mixture of fibrous connective tissue and cartilaginous tissue.

The fibrous tissue gives it flexibility and toughness. Meanwhile, the cartilaginous tissue gives it elasticity. The fibrocartilage belongs to the densest cartilage among the three. It is also the only cartilage having type I collagen besides type II collagen.

How does cartilage form?

A cartilaginous tissue contains chondrocytes, fibers, and extracellular matrix (ECM). These materials help in cartilage formation by attracting water. It would then give its characteristic shape and property. 

Chondrocytes

They produce collagen, proteoglycans, glycoproteins, and hyaluronan. These macromolecules constitute the shape and structure of the tissue.

Chondrocytes vary among the different types of cartilaginous tissues. It depends on how much matrix the cell produces. The chondrocytes clump up together and form cell nests within the cavities of the tissue. 

Extracellular Matrix (ECM)

This constituent differentiates connective tissues from others. They originate from the secretions of the chondrocytes. They also have two elements: the fibers and the ground substance.

The definition of the fibers will appear in the following section. The ground substance contains water, adhesion proteins, and polysaccharide molecule. 

The cell adhesions serve as a glue in function. They enable the attachment of connective tissue cells (chondrocytes) to the matrix fibers.

Meanwhile, the polysaccharides help trap water as they become more complex structures. The more the polysaccharides become abundant, the more they make the matrix fuller. The number of polysaccharides determines the density of the tissue. Their consistency ranges from fluid to gel-like.

Fibers

The fibers found in cartilages include collagens (white), elastic (yellow), and reticular fibers. Collagen contributes to its high tensile strength. Meanwhile, elastic fiber aids in stretching and recoiling motion. Reticular fibers create a cushion for soft tissues.

The monomers of these fibers originate from the chondrocytes of the tissue. They link together like other proteins and carbohydrates to form these fibers.

All these substances contribute to the shape and density of the connective tissue.  The following shows the order of cartilages (from less dense to densest):

Hyaline Cartilage ➡️ Elastic Cartilage ➡️ Fibrocartilage

Where are they located?

In general, cartilages live most in the tips of body organs. This way, they would have more range in their cushioning and connecting abilities. Here are some lists of body parts where we can find the three types of this connective tissue: 

·         Hyaline Cartilages

This cartilaginous flesh has the most amount in the body. One reason that contributes to this attribute points to the procreation of the body. It comprises the early embryonic skeleton of a baby. Examples include:

  • the bone ends in free moving-joints
  • rib ends
  • nose
  • larynx
  • bronchi
  • trachea

·         Elastic Cartilages

The more pliable of the three, it resides in parts where it undergoes tension. It also helps in bouncing off vibrations traveling in the specific body canal. Example body parts are:

  • epiglottis (near the larynx region)
  • larynx
  • pinnae (external ear location)
  • the auditory tube of the middle ear (Eustachian tube)

·         Fibrocartilages (Fibrous Cartilages)

The densest cartilaginous tissue of the bunch. This asset helps protect and cushion organs sensitive to impact (like the bones). Some organs with fibrocartilage are:

  • intervertebral disks (spinal column)
  • ligaments
  • tendons
  • pubis symphysis (pelvis location)
  • the joint between the manubrium and sternum (rib location)
  • temporal mandibular joint (lower jaw location)
  • menisci (knee location)

What is the strongest cartilage?

According to doctors, the strongest cartilage found is fibrocartilage. The reason for this leads to its contents. It has a thick layer of alternating structures. You can relate to this when you fix a bed with different layers of quilts and blankets.

These alternating components constitute layers of hyaline cartilage matrix and dense collagen fibers. They orient a direction that compensates for the pressure on the connective tissue.

It means that its layer arrangement counters the stresses placed on the body organ. This attribute also helps to pad the organs that experience the hardest friction. — vertebrae, knee, long bones.   

Does cartilage affect height?  

Yes, cartilages can indeed influence the growth of height among people. This event happens when a structure in the bone named growth plate aids in bone elongation. It then points to why children will not stay small and short in their lifetime.

A growth plate is a layer of cartilaginous tissue found in most long bones of the body. Most of the cartilages found in the growth plate belong to the category of hyaline. These hyaline connective tissues provide the growth of bones and soon the height.

The way this tissue affects the height of bones occurs in two ways:

  1. An embryonic bone will use hyaline connective tissues as its model for growth. They develop through chondrogenesis. The soft hyaline will continue to serve as the temporary bone for the developing body.
  • Then as the fetus matures, the hyaline will turn to bones with the help of osteoblasts in the bone matrix. The cartilages digest away and leave a medullary cavity within the bone. By birth, the connective hyaline disappears— except for two structures. 

The hyaline undergoes more synthesis and osteoblast action. As this continues, more bones will form and pile up after another. The ending result of this leads to notable growth in bone length. When the bone length increases, the height follows.  

Which growth plates determine height?

The epiphyseal plate pertains to the growth plate that determines the height. This hyaline structure can still produce a chondrocyte-producing matrix in the bone. Thus, it can help the long bone achieve longitudinal growth.

The growth plate exists between the epiphyseal and metaphyseal bones. A closer look reveals three zones on the growth plate. These zones contribute to the differentiation of cartilaginous cells helpful for bone formation. They are:

A.      Resting Zone

This area has many small chondrocytes that act like stem cells. It also plays a role in protein synthesis and germinal structure maintenance. A slow replication rate happens in this area.

B.      Proliferative Zone

This area contains flat chondrocytes lining the long axis of the bone. Production of collagen (Types II and XI) also happens here. The replication rate here speeds up in preparation for bone formation.

C.      Hypertrophic Zone

Here, the differentiation of chondrocytes finishes. And you can notice this due to its increased thickness. It also houses a calcified matrix and the formation of bone and vessels. Maturation of bone happens in this zone.

Can HGH make you taller at 18?

No, HGH will not work anymore at the age of 18. Doing so will only cause malfunctions in the Human Growth Hormone levels. Everyone should remember this implication, as it will save their lives.

To put it short, growth in the body and bones stops during adolescence. This time marks the ages of 16-18 years. The growth plate of these ages has now completed its work and converted it into a bone structure.

No chondrogenesis and ossification will happen anymore if this occurs. It is because the plate has already calcified as a spongy bone. All that remains in that area hosts the remnants of the epiphyseal plate. This structure alludes to a bony structure known as the epiphyseal line.

As for the HGH, it cannot play any role anymore in height determination. The bone has now finished its growth. High doses of HGH will only thicken the bone instead of making them increase in length.

HGH now will only work on producing muscle and bone for body organs and cell maintenance. Enlargement of organs and insulin regulation are some actions that HGH can still do now.

Adults that keep supplying HGH in their bodies may sport slight height increases. But these may not even compare to the growth most adolescent children experience. Some may even call this unnatural.

Thus, using HGH to increase height at 18 will not work in most cases.

Is it possible to increase height after 21?

It depends on the development of your bones. If you see that the growth plates on your longs bones still exist, your height can still grow. But there will be no growth with an already-closed growth plate.

For those people with a still-growing growth plate, they still have hope. They can increase their height by also increasing their HGH. This scenario can happen but only in a few cases like delayed growth spurts or a body disorder.

But most cases would have no chance to increase their height when they reach ages 18-21. The growth plates at this point close off.

Still, do not let this discourage you. Eat healthy and nutritious food and strengthen your bones through exercise. You can also wear clothing that would make you appear tall. Positivity in life is one key to looking tall.

What causes cartilage loss?

The cartilages lose their strength when overworked. Friction, mechanical stress, and destructive substances render the connective tissues weak. And in time, the fibers and matrix that hold the cartilaginous mass break down.

There exist many reasons why our cartilages break down. From our body chemistry to the lifestyle we adopt, in particular. All can influence the entire anatomy and physiology of these structures. Here are some causes of cartilage-related loss:

1. Osteoarthritis

This disorder categorizes as a degenerative disease. So, as you grow older, the cartilaginous fibers in your joints also get old and degrade. They have now worn down because your body has used them ever since.

2. Trauma

Sudden traumatic events like injuries or accidents cause weakening in the connective flesh. Atrophy will soon follow in that area, leading to a faster breakdown. These areas should expect easier damage because of their avascularity.

3. Joint Instability

Cartilage-induced damage can cause joints to be loose and movable. It leads to extra motion in the tissue. If they move too much, it can injure that area. Arthritis will soon follow and start degradation of cartilages.

4. Aging and Genes

As mentioned before, aging will weaken the area of concern and reduce the fibers/matrix. Passing faulty genes could also account for the loss of the connective flesh. It happens to a considerable number of people. Even so, both factors induce loss in cartilaginous mass.

5. Lack of Exercise

A sedentary lifestyle will make the joints lose strength. Some cases could also lead to atrophy of joints. Thus, exercises should appear to keep the joints away from under usage.

6. Biomechanics and Poor Alignment

An asymmetrical cartilage loss accounts for joint degradation. You may have a body-alignment issue that is causing certain joints to wear down more than others.

7. Obesity

Obesity harms knee joints and increases the load on knee joints by 2-4 times. An increased risk of knee replacement can also happen.

8. Metabolic Disorders

The chemical matrix structure of joints can destabilize by metabolic syndrome. Furthermore, adipose (fat) tissue can overproduce leptin. It is a hormone that regulates a sense of fullness. But it also has an impact on bone and cartilage. Greater leptin leads to more arthritis over time.

9. Poor Nutrition

Poor dietary habits and nutrition deficiency damages your cartilage and musculoskeletal system. What you eat has the power to turn on or off the genes that protect your cartilages.

10. Medication

The drugs injected into arthritic joints for pain treatment also hazards the cartilage. An example of this is epinephrine, which has an acidic (low pH) nature. Apoptosis is the death of cartilage cells caused by anesthetics and steroid medicines.

These only represent a decent number of reasons for cartilage loss. Due to its wide range of disorders, you should be careful of your every action. Your joints and cartilaginous flesh are also important, like your cardiac muscle (heart). (2,219 words)

REFERENCES:

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What is cardiac muscle and its function?

Written by Elisha Kristin Pasco

The cardiac muscles are also known as the myocardium. They make up the muscular middle layer of your heart and enable it to circulate the blood in your body. The myocardium is a muscle that you can only locate in your heart. Surrounding it is a thin outer layer called visceral pericardium or your epicardium. Your myocardium then covers the inner layer called the endocardium.

The myocardium is responsible for the involuntary contraction and relaxation of your heart. It can make your heartbeat because of cardiomyocytes. Cardiomyocytes are cardiac muscles that compose your myocardium. The primary function of these heart cells is to contract, thus enabling your heart to pump your blood.

What are the main characteristics of cardiac muscle?

The cardiomyocytes that make up your myocardium have a rectangular shape. They are branching cells with only one nucleus found at the center. It also contains mitochondria. The mitochondria provide your heart with the energy needed for contraction.

The cardiomyocytes need a sufficient amount of adenosine triphosphate. It is why mitochondria are present within the cells.

When cardiomyocytes organize themselves into repetitive units, it forms a sarcomere. The sarcomere is the repeated overlapping of the muscle filaments. The thick and thin myofilaments arrangement gives your myocardium its signature striated appearance.

Sarcomeres, however, are not exclusive to only your myocardium. They are also present in your skeletal muscles. And, like in the myocardium, they are also responsible for their striated appearance.

A sarcolemma surrounds your cardiomyocyte. It is a plasma membrane that regulates what comes in and out of the cells. The sarcolemma contains invaginations called T-tubules. The tubules hold the numerous proteins necessary for cardiomyocyte function. The proteins found within the cavity are as follows:

  • L-type calcium channels
  • sodium-calcium exchanger
  • calcium ATPases
  • beta-adrenergic receptors

The t-tubules are invaginations that excite the contraction of your cells. They ensure that your body’s pump can circulate the blood in your body.

Intercalated discs link each cardiomyocyte through three different cell junctions. The discs are a distinct feature of your heart tissues and contain the following:

  • fascia adherens
  • desmosomes,
  • gap junctions.

Fascia adherens serve as anchoring junctions. They enable actin filaments to attach to the thin filaments of your sarcomeres to your cells.

Desmosomes are adhesion sites that keep your muscles cells together during a contraction.

Gap junctions are responsible for direct contact between the cells of your heart. It enables electric communication, enabling your heart to beat.

The myocardium also holds pacemaker cells called sinoatrial (SA) nodes. The SA nodes are responsible for regulating your heart rate.

What is the structure of cardiac muscle?

The myocardium is composed of individual muscle cells called cardiomyocytes. Cardiomyocytes can make your heart contract due to the myofibrils that make up the cell. Your myofibrils are the specialized cytoskeletal structure that enables your heart to beat.

As a cytoskeletal structure, your myofibrils help the cardiomyocytes maintain their shape. They are composed of myofilaments. They are rod-like tubules that overlap and organize themselves in repeating units called sarcomeres.

Sarcomeres are the contractile units of your muscle cells. Two types of myofilaments overlap to form your sarcomeres. Thick and thin myofilaments containing unique proteins make your sarcomeres.

The thick myofilaments contain the protein myosin, whereas the thin ones hold actin.

Actin is the major cytoskeletal protein of your cardiomyocytes. It is the protein responsible for the cells’ movement. On the other hand, myosin is a protein that converts adenosine triphosphate (ATP) to energy. It provides your muscles the fuel to move.

Is cardiac muscle voluntary or involuntary?

The cardiac muscle is involuntary. AF Huxley and R Niedergerke and HE Huxley and J Hanson’s first described the sliding filament theory. They discussed their theory in two research papers published in 1954. The papers explain how the muscles in your heart can beat on their own.

The research describes the molecular basis behind the muscle contraction of your heart. In the paper, it notes that the sarcomeres have two different zones. The “A band” is an area that maintains its length during the contraction. On the other hand, the “I band” is the zone that changes its span when the sarcomere contracts.

The A band contains thick myofilaments composed of myosin. The constant length of this zone suggests that though the myosin participates in the beating of your heart, it is central and does not move. The I band is thin actin filaments that shorten whenever the heart contracts. Observations between the myosin and actin during the contraction of your heart enabled the development of the sliding filament theory.

The sliding filament theory describes actin sliding past the myosin. The movement creates tension within your muscles. This action would cause the sarcomere to shorten because actin is bound to the z bands. Z bands are structures at the lateral end of your sarcomeres. It transmits the tension from one sarcomere to the next.

Since the beating of your heart is involuntary, it would have to be regulated by some processes in your body. For your myocardium to contract, it uses calcium and ATP cofactors. ATP provides your muscles with the energy to move, whereas calcium is responsible for regulating muscle contraction.

Calcium, however, isn’t what controls the contraction of your heart. However, the proteins that manage it, troponin and tropomyosin, require it as a trigger.

The tropomyosin keeps the myosin from binding with the actin if the sarcomere is at rest. On the other hand, troponin is the protein that moves the tropomyosin from the myosin-binding sites of actin, enabling contraction. The action between troponin and tropomyosin is only possible when there is calcium. Without calcium, the myosin-binding areas will remain blocked by the tropomyosin, keeping actin and myosin from sliding against each other.

How do you identify cardiac muscle tissue?

What is cardiac muscle and its function?

The arrangement of the sarcomeres in your myocardium and striations can help you identify the cardiac muscle at first glance. However, skeletal muscles are also striated, so to further differentiate one from the other, look into its defining characteristics.

Aside from the striations, you will need to look into the general shape of the cells that make up your tissue. Cardiomyocytes are branching rectangular cells.

The next step would be to locate and count how many nuclei are present within the cells. Your myocardium is mononucleated. It only has one core situated in the center of the cell.

The striations in your heart are due to the arrangement of your thin and thick myofilaments in your sarcomeres. Your sarcomeres have different zones divided due to their composition and behavior during contraction.

The thickness of the A-bands gives them a darker color than the I-bands, with a relatively bright area in the middle. The Z disc presents itself as a dark line that connects the actin filaments of your muscles.

What is the shape of a cardiac muscle cell?

The myocardium is rectangular, but each muscle cell has a tubular structure. The shape is because of the repeating chains of myofibrils that form the sarcomeres, which have a rod-like profile.

What is the difference between skeletal, smooth and cardiac muscle?

Skeletal, smooth, and cardiac muscles differ in control, composition, shape, function, and location.

Skeletal Muscle

Skeletal muscles are attached to your bone and are in charge of your body’s skeletal movements and posture. Nerves from your somatic nervous system innervate the fibers enabling your central nervous system to control them.

As your central nervous system controls them, the muscles are under conscious and voluntary control. It is composed of repeating multinucleated cells that form sarcomeres. The sarcomeres are responsible for the striations in this muscle.

Aside from movement and posture, the skeletal muscles also play a hand in the following functions:

  • Heat production
  • Irritability – enables you to respond to stimuli from the external environment.
  • Conductivity – can transmit impulses.
  • Extensibility – gives you the ability to stretch without tearing yourself apart.
  • Contractility – ability to shorten and create movement

Smooth Muscle

The smooth muscles are in the walls of hollow internal organs such as:

  • blood vessels
  • gastrointestinal tract
  • urinary bladder
  • uterus

You do not have voluntary control over your smooth muscles. Your autonomic nervous system controls them without your conscious input. Unlike your cardiac and skeletal muscles, the smooth muscles lack striations.

The lack of striations is because the thick and thin filaments do not form sarcomeres. Sarcomeres are responsible for the striated appearance of other tissues of your body.

Like the cardiac muscle, it can contract independently and with rhythm.

Cardiac Muscle

The cardiac muscles are muscles that are only present in your heart. The striations are due to the myofilament arranging themselves into sarcomeres as the skeletal muscle. The striations on the myocardium are shorter than those in your musculoskeletal system.

Unlike the musculoskeletal system, the cells of your cardiac muscle have one nucleus. The nucleus rests at the very center of the cell.

The autonomous nervous system controls them and enables them to contract involuntarily. The myocardium’s contractions have rhythm and are very strong.

References

Arackal, A., & Alsayouri, K. (2021, May 10). Histology, heart. NCBI Bookshelf. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK545143/.

Burgoyne, T., Morris, E. P., & Luther, P. K. (2015). Three-Dimensional structure of vertebrate muscle z-band: The small-square lattice z-band in rat cardiac muscle. Journal of Molecular Biology, 427(22). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jmb.2015.08.018

Cooper, G. M. (2000a, January 1). Actin, myosin, and cell movement. NCBI Bookshelf. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK9961/

Guo, Y., & Pu, W. T. (2020). Cardiomyocyte maturation. Circulation Research, 126(8), 1086–1106. https://doi.org/10.1161/circresaha.119.315862

Muscle tissue. (n.d.). SEER Training. Retrieved April 12, 2022, from https://training.seer.cancer.gov/anatomy/cells_tissues_membranes/tissues/muscle.html

Myofibril – An overview. (n.d.). ScienceDirect Topics. Retrieved April 12, 2022, from http://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/myofibril

Paxton, Steve, Knibbs, Adele, Peckham, & Michelle. (2003a, January 1). Muscle: The histology guide. University of Leeds. https://www.histology.leeds.ac.uk/tissue_types/muscle/Muscle_cell_junctions.php

Paxton, Steve, Knibbs, Adele, Peckham, & Michelle. (2003b, January 1). Muscle: The histology guide. University of Leeds. https://www.histology.leeds.ac.uk/tissue_types/muscle/muscle_cardiac.php

Saxton, A., Tariq, M. A., & Bordoni, B. (2021, August 11). Anatomy, thorax, cardiac muscle. NCBI Bookshelf. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK535355/

Sliding filament theory, sarcomere, muscle contraction, myosin. (n.d.-a). Learn Science at Scitable. Retrieved April 12, 2022, from https://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/the-sliding-filament-theory-of-muscle-contraction-14567666/

Szent-Györgyi, A. G. (1975). Calcium regulation of muscle contraction. Biophysical Journal, 15(7). https://doi.org/10.1016/S0006-3495(75)85849-8

What are osteoblasts and osteoclasts?

Written by Naellah Yanca Marie P. Galve

What are osteoblasts and osteoclasts?
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

The osteoblasts and osteoclasts are two types of cells found in the skeleton. The roles of osteoblasts and osteoclasts in skeletal maintenance are distinct. Osteoblasts are bone-builders, while osteoclasts are bone-eaters.

While both take part in repair, they differ in managing their function. Osteoblasts are responsible for growth and development. In contrast, osteoclasts play a role in the resorption and degradation of bony tissue.

Osteoblasts are uni-nucleated, cuboidal cells coming from the osteogenic cells in the periosteum. The periosteum is the tissue layer that protects the outermost surface. On the said surface, the osteoblasts appear as a densely-packed cell layer.

The rough ER, which manufactures and transports proteins, is abundant inside them. They also feature a prominent Golgi complex that packages the cell’s products. Their name “bone-forming cells” is due to their role in skeletal development.

They also aid in bone remodeling or healing. They secrete chemicals such as growth factors, osteocalcin, and collagen into the matrix. Alkaline and collagenase, enzymes necessary in bone- building, are also the product of osteoblasts.

These get trapped in the lacunae once the matrix surrounds the osteoblast. The lacunae are a collection of small, oblong spaces located between the lamellae. The entrapped cells develop into osteocytes, which are mature skeletal cells.

Osteocytes engage with the surface and receive nutrients through canaliculi. The canaliculi are long, slender transportation channels.

Osteoclasts arise from the monocytic cells or macrophages in the circulation. These are also present in the marrow cavity’s endosteum layer. The endosteum, a thin connective tissue, lines the inner medulla.

Osteoclasts are big and multinucleated. Their cytoplasm appears foamy and homogenous. They have microvilli, forming a brush-like structure extending to the active sites.

The “Howship lacunae” at the surface are where the osteoclasts are. Its cavity-like grooves are due to the enzymes secreted by osteoclasts. Examples are acid-phosphatases. These substances can dissolve the skeleton’s calcium, collagen, and phosphorus components.

As mentioned, the role of osteoclasts is to resorb bone to produce calcium. Bone resorption is the body’s response to low calcium levels in the blood. They secrete enzymes that break the bony complex down, releasing calcium into circulation. It is their primary function.

How do osteoblasts make bone?

Bones, of course, are essential body structures. Mobility is possible as they provide muscular attachment sites. For example, various bony structures protect organs, take the skull and ribs. Blood production, lipids, and mineral (e.g., calcium) storage are their functions.

We already know that osteoblasts are responsible for skeletal formation. This process, known as ossification or osteogenesis, means “production of new bones.” By producing a matrix that covers the surface of the older cells, they create new layers.

Ossification happens when mesenchymes and cartilages transform into bones. During the stages of development, most of the skeleton is cartilaginous. It allows the calcium to get deposited and grow, producing the body’s framework.

The two subtypes of ossification are intramembranous ossification and endochondral ossification.

1.      Intramembranous ossification

In the intramembranous ossification, the mesenchyme differentiates straight into the membrane. Examples of structures developed in such a way are the flat bones found in the skull.

The mesenchyme differentiates into osteoblasts and later begins to deposit osteoid. Osteoid is a term used to identify an unmineralized matrix rich in collagen. The bone-forming cells start depositing calcium phosphate into the osteoid tissue. This action aids osteoid maturation.

The osteoblasts transform to become osteocytes. The forming skeleton has no discernible pattern at first. The spicules become structured and merge into layers called lamellae. Around blood arteries, different lamellae grow, creating an osteon.

The osteon contains the Haversian canal system. Meanwhile, the other osteoblasts stay near the active site’s surface. They lay down lamellae that would later develop into compact bone. The intermediate bony structures between the surface plates remain porous.

It is worth noting that our skeletal system undergoes continuous remodeling until adulthood. As we live, bone cells die and get replaced. We can credit this to the coordinated functions of the osteoclasts and osteoblasts.

2.        Endochondral ossification

It entails the mesenchyme to produce cartilaginous models, then ossifies. Long bones, those in the extremities, vertebrae, and ribcage, come from cartilage.

Cell hypertrophy and calcium phosphate crystal formation are essential phases. Cell apoptosis and calcium matrix erosion are also inevitable. At the same time, a thin layer of tissue develops beneath the perichondrium. It causes it to transform into the periosteum, the outermost layer.

Ossification happens in two major “centers” called the primary and secondary ossification centers.

The diaphysis is where primary centers of ossification emerge. The process proceeds toward the epiphysis. The secondary centers appear in the epiphysis of long, bony structures in the first few years of life.

What are Osteons?

An osteon is a cylindrical structure that serves as the basic unit or building block of compact bone. The name osteon means “bone,” derived from its Greek origin. The primary functions of osteons include providing protection, structure, and strength.

Inside an osteon, we can find a mineral matrix and osteocyte units. The mineral hydroxyapatite makes up the skeletal matrix. It is high in calcium and phosphorus, as well as collagen.

Their cylindrical feature is due to the concentric layers, known as lamellae. Lamellae are round, concentric layers of tissue that surround a Haversian canal. They run parallel to its long axis. It is a beneficial feature as it helps in resisting stress or shock.

In the same layer, we can find the lacunae. The lacunae are chamber-like structures located between lamellae. It serves as the storage of mature osteocytes.

Where do osteoblasts reside?

The periosteum is the exterior layer, while the endosteum is the interior layer. Blood veins, nerves, and lymphatic tissue make up the periosteum. It is in charge of supplying nutrients to skeletal cells. Meanwhile, growth, healing, and remodeling occur in the endosteum.

Osteoblasts dwell in the periosteum’s innermost layer. Hence, they can add new layers inward to the endosteum. On the skeleton’s surface, they constitute a dense layer of cells. Their cellular processes extend throughout the active site, where it mineralizes the matrix.

The osteoblast formation occurs when osteogenic cells in the marrow’s periosteum & endosteum differentiate. It is also why osteoblasts are abundant in the connective tissues of these locations.

Do osteocytes have a Golgi apparatus?

Yes. Osteocytes have a Golgi apparatus along with other cellular organelles. An osteocyte is a type of cell found in mature skeletal tissue. They are unicellular with a stellate shape, their body sizing from 5-20 micrometers. They live in the cavities of osteons.

Osteocytes feature a single nucleus, a membrane, and a nucleolus or two. It also contains mitochondria, a smaller endoplasmic reticulum, and a Golgi apparatus.

We know that osteocytes are osteoblasts deposited in the matrix. They communicate through tiny canals called canaliculi. Nutrition and waste exchange happen in these canals.

Osteocytes are active in the turnover of the skeletal matrix. Also, they destroy bone using

osteocytic osteolysis. This process is faster and temporary compared to osteoclasts’ function.

Where is the Volkmann’s canal?

Perforating holes or channels, called Volkmann’s canals, are anatomic patterns in cortical bones. The Volkmann canals situate within osteons. They connect the Haversian canals to the periosteum and each other.

They have anastomosing vessels between Haversian capillaries and run to the Haversian canals. These tiny channels reach blood vessels from the periosteum to the inner surface. They are perforating canals that supply energy and nutrients to the osteons.

These canals serve to “perforate” lamellae and supply vessels for the core of osteons. Remnants of eroded osteons become irregular interstitial lamellae.

Do osteoblasts produce calcium?

No. Osteoblasts do not create calcium; instead, they deposit it. The osteoclasts, not the osteoblasts, are responsible for calcium production. Osteoclasts are responsible for breaking down the composite material in the skeleton. They do so using acid and collagenase proteins. Osteoclasts act on calcium in the bones, returning them to the bloodstream.

Providing calcium to the bloodstream is one of the skeletal system’s essential functions. Calcium is a vital nutrient for our bodies. Muscle contraction, blood clotting, nerve conduction, and other body functions need it. We use calcium to strengthen our teeth and, of course, the skeletal system.

Osteoclasts provide calcium through the degradation of bony material. The thyroid gland regulates osteoclast formation. When the need for more calcium arises in the blood, the osteoclast hormone activates. When calcium levels are normal, they become suppressed. They’re also crucial for healing skeletal fractures.

Osteoclasts are bone-degrading multinucleated monocyte-macrophage derivatives. They are vital to humans’ continuous removal and replacement of skeletal matter. Thus, skeletal material can manage extracellular calcium activity, which is crucial for survival.

They dissolve bony matter with acid secretions and proteinases, dissolving the collagen matrix. The calcium-rich environment permits the osteoclast to maintain homeostatic calcium levels. There is a removal of degraded products via membrane vesicles transcytosis.

Skeletal development is the function of unrelated stromal cell-derived osteoblasts. Thus, osteoclastic differentiation balances osteogenesis.

Interactions between osteoclast precursors and bone-forming cells govern osteoclast differentiation. The bony matter disintegrates into minute fragments, which the osteoclasts consume. Calcium and phosphorus get released into the bloodstream due to demineralization.

Where do dead bone cells go?

Human osteoclasts live for two weeks, osteoblasts for three months. Both experience apoptosis. Apoptosis, or programmed cell death, is how bone cells die. Apoptosis occurs in an estimated 50–70% of osteoblasts throughout rebuilding.

It is an essential component of embryogenesis and tissue morphogenesis. In adult skeletons, it contributes to physiological bone turnover, repair, and regeneration.

In a “zone of hypertrophy,” the developed chondrocytes in the lacunae undergo apoptosis. This zone is near the primary ossification center in the active site.

Osteoclasts die after eroding skeletal matter from the central axis in cortical bone. Phagocytes then remove these dead cells fast to make room for the new bony material. The majority of osteoblasts deposited at the remodeling site die as well.

The rest transforms into lining cells covering quiescent skeletal surfaces. They become encased osteocytes within the calcified matrix.

References

Blair, H. C. (1998). How the osteoclast degrades bones. 20(10), 837–846. https://doi.org/10.1002/(SICI)1521-1878(199810)20:10

Bran, G. M., Stern-Straeter, J., Hörmann, K., Riedel, F., & Goessler, U. R. (2008). Apoptosis in bones for tissue engineering. Archives of Medical Research, 39(5), 467–482. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.arcmed.2008.02.007

Crampton, S. D. (2022, January 5). Osteoblasts, osteoclasts, calcium, and bone remodeling.

Science Direct.

Dudley, H. R., & Spiro, D. (1961). The fine structure of bone cells. The Journal of Biophysical and Biochemical Cytology, 11(3), 627–649. https://doi.org/10.1083/jcb.11.3.627.PMC2225143.PMID19866598.

Fleming, E. (2020, April 4). What is the function of the osteon? Sidmart in Bio. https://www.sidmartinbio.org/what-is-the-function-of-the-osteon/

Lakna, B. (2017, August 29). Difference between osteoblast and osteoclast. Pedia. https://pediaa.com/difference-between-osteoblast-and-osteoclast/

Manolagas, S. C. (2000). Birth and death of bone cells. The primary regulatory mechanisms and implications for the pathogenesis and treatment of osteoporosis. Endocrine Reviews, 21(2), 115–137. https://doi.org/10.1210/er.21.2.115

Mescher, A. (2018). Junqueira’s basic histology: Text and atlas (15th ed., Vol. 2). McGraw Hill Education.

Singh, V. (2013). General anatomy. Elsevier Health Sciences APAC, 75–80.

Teitelbaum, S. L. (2007). Osteoclasts. The American Journal of Pathology, 170(2), 427–435. Xing, L., & Boyce, B. F. (2005). Regulation of apoptosis in osteoclasts and osteoblastic cells.

Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, 328(3), 709–720. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbrc.2004.11.072

What is fibroblast made up of?

Written by Ian Jay B. Francisco

Connective tissues occur throughout the body. They provide support, bind stuff together, and protect the body’s organs. Looking at a microscopic photo of connective tissues, you will see fibroblasts.

Connective tissues consist of cells, protein fibers, and a ground substance. Fibroblasts are the most common cell type that you can find in a connective tissue specimen. They produce and maintain the extracellular matrix of your connective tissues.

Fibroblasts secrete collagen proteins that support many tissues. They also help heal wounds. These cells are spindle-shaped, elongated, and have several processes that extend their bodies.

You can find them in the skin, tendons, and other tough tissues of the body. These are collagen-secreting cells. They can be grown in a lab for genotypic and phenotypic testing of the associated disease.

Like any other cell, organelles make up fibroblasts. They have an oval nucleus that is euchromatic. You would find an abundant endoplasmic reticulum and a well-developed Golgi apparatus. It is because they produce large amounts of protein.

The more minor, inactive form of this cell is the fibrocyte. The cells differ because the nuclei of fibrocytes are heterochromatic. Their cytoplasm and organelles are also lesser in comparison to fibroblasts.

Fibroblasts produce extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins, such as collagen and elastin. Aside from these proteins, the ECM also contains glycosaminoglycans, reticular fibers, and glycoproteins.

Contractile myofibroblasts, which are essential in wound healing, are unique fibroblasts. When tissue undergoes damage, fibrocytes become stimulated. They then undergo mitosis or multiplication by replication and division.

What is produced by fibroblasts?

Aside from tissue repair, fibroblasts have other functions. They are responsible for regulating and maintaining the body’s connective tissues. They achieve this by producing fibrous proteins and ground substances.

The ECM’s compositions are fibrous proteins and ground substances produced by fibroblasts. It provides an adjustable structural base for tissue growth and stores growth factors. The ECM also transmits signals within the tissue and acts as an adhesive substrate.

Fibrin, fibronectin, and collagen are the fibrous proteins produced by fibroblasts. Collagen provides the mechanical strength required for tissue formation. Meanwhile, fibrin and fibronectin give the basic framework for cell adhesion.

The ground substance is the collection of the ECM’s non-fibrous proteins. It is a clear gel that fills in cell gaps and helps tissues resist compression.

Glycosaminoglycans are long unbranched polysaccharide chains that you can find in-ground substances. An example would be proteoglycan. It plays a role in growth factor propagation and enzyme regulation.

Fibers and connector proteins produced by fibroblasts give tissues their structure. Reciprocal positive feedback regulation of these proteins can promote profibrotic myofibroblast differentiation. ECM structures can serve as lamina delineating borders separating distinct cell types

Fibroblasts secrete a diverse array of structural proteins with unique properties. Its rope-shaped triple-stranded helical tertiary protein structure reinforces its tensile strength. This structure also prevents overstretching.

Elastin proteins form cross-linked but unstructured elastic networks that stretch without breaking. Skin and lung tissues differ in their expression of collagen and elastin proteins. Moreover, fibrosis pathology includes an increase in the relative balance of collagen.

How do fibroblasts make collagen?

Like all other proteins, collagen’s components are amino acids. It supports extracellular connective tissue structure. Collagen synthesis occurs both inside and outside your fibroblasts.

Its rigidity and stretch resistance allow it to be a part of your skin, tendons, bones, and ligaments. Amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins, also make up collagen. Collagen’s primary amino acid sequence is glycine-proline-X.

Collagen has three chains. The chains form a triple helix. Glycine allows the chain to create a closed configuration and withstand stress. Its synthesis usually occurs in fibroblasts.

Outlined below are the mechanisms involved in the synthesis of collagen.

Intracellular synthesis

mRNA transcription in the nucleus

  • Transcription of genes for pro-a1 and pro-a2 chains.

Translation

  • Translation requires mRNA to interact with ribosomes in the cytoplasm.
  • In the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), it undergoes modification after translation.

Modifications after translation

  • From there, the chain undergoes three alterations to create procollagen.
    1. Removal of N-terminal signal peptide
    2. Addition of hydroxyl groups by hydroxylase enzymes to lysine and proline residues
    3. Selective hydroxyl-lysine glycosylation with galactose and glucose b
  • Three hydroxylated and glycosylated pro-a-chains form a triple helix through zipper folding. Three left-handed helices wrapped into a right-handed coil.
  • The procollagen molecule now enters the Golgi apparatus for final alterations and assembly.

Extracellular synthesis

Cleavage of the propeptide

  • Collagen peptidases are enzymes that cleave procollagen and turn it into tropocollagen.

Assembly of collagen fibril

  • Tropocollagen molecules form covalent bonds between each other. The catalyst for this is a copper-dependent enzyme known as lysyl oxidase.

Collagen is the body’s most prevalent protein. So, it has various types. Collagen types I through V are the most frequent, each with distinct roles.

There are concerns about collagen’s biochemical production. Clinical symptoms of collagen synthesis errors exist. Scurvy, osteogenesis imperfecta, and Ehlers–Danlos syndrome are some notable disorders.

What do fibroblasts do in the heart?

What is fibroblast made up of?

Fibroblasts are important in heart development and remodeling. But, you might not know that they are crucial in cardiac anatomy and function. The cardiac fibroblast supports and maintains normal heart function.

With their regulatory function, cardiac fibroblasts coordinate communication between components of the heart. A cardiac fibroblast is a cell that makes connective tissue. Its ECM consists of collagens, proteoglycans, and glycoproteins, unlike bones and tendons.

These cells produce periostin, vimentin, fibronectin, and collagen types I, III, V, and VI. Although they are the prominent synthesizers, other cardiac cell types also produce these.

Studies show that cardiac fibroblasts respond to injury by generating ECM components. But their activities in uninjured hearts remain unknown. Endothelial cells are the most frequent non-cardiomyocyte cell type in the heart.

Although not the majority, fibroblasts still play a role in normal heart physiology. Their mechanisms include matrix degradation, conduction system insulation, and cardiomyocyte electrical coupling. Also involved are vascular maintenance and stress sensing.

Cardiac fibroblasts regulate the heart’s basal structure and take part in wound healing. After your heart receives damage, tissue-resident fibroblasts develop into disease-activated fibroblasts and myofibroblasts.

In the past, most fibroblast studies concerned markers and in vitro models. Despite having two developmental sources, cardiac fibroblasts are the most common fibroblast source.

A novel cell type that developed during the fibrotic response is the myofibroblast. Research findings imply that an active fibroblast can revert to a resting fibroblast. But concerns remain on the role of the fibroblast in physiology and illness.

Where are fibroblasts found in the skin?

The barrier system of the body includes the skin and its appendages, which account for 16% of body weight. The skin has an epidermis and dermis, with the dermis being the inner layer. Dermal fibroblasts are cells in the dermis that help the skin heal.

The skin protects the tissues beneath it from injury, infection, and water loss. Regulation of body temperature and reception of sensations are tasks of your skin. It also regulates sweat gland output and absorbs UV light to make vitamin D.

The dermis consists of a top papillary layer and a reticular layer that is denser and deeper in the skin. Collagenous connective tissues support the epidermis and connect the skin to the hypothalamus. In the eyelid, dermal thickness ranges from 0.6 to 3 mm.

The dermis-fascia interface is not well-defined. It is also thicker in the dorsal areas of the body. If you didn’t know, women have a thicker dermis than men.

In connective tissues, fibroblasts predominate. They help secrete extrarenal-matrix prophylactic material to keep connective tissues intact. All extracellular matrix molecules, including the primary material and strands, need precursors.

Fibroblasts, like other connective tissue cells, come from mesenchyme. The intermediate filament secretes vimentin, a protein used to identify mesodermal origins. Changing cells from one type to another happens in the epithelial-mesenchymal transition.

During certain circumstances, fibroblasts can turn into epithelial cells. Some fibroblasts make collagen, glycosaminoglycan, lattice, and elastic fibers. Glycoproteins in the EC and thymic stromal lymphopoietin cytokines are also included.

Unlike epithelium, fibroblasts are not restricted to the basal layer. They also help to build the basal layer. Because myofibroblasts make laminin chains, they don’t have follicular areas. Unlike epithelium, fibroblasts can move to the substrate layer on their own.

Fibroblasts can rebuild the structure of the skin. Injuries cause fibroblasts and mitosis to happen. These cells move to the wound, make ECM, and heal tissues during injuries. Proteins in the extracellular matrix help inflammatory cells move and form granular tissues.

Granular tissue growth allows keratinocytes to strengthen the epithelial tissues. The fibroblasts make contractile elements that help close the ulcer. Type I collagen also speeds up the healing process.

Collagen is the most common ECM component, and it makes fibers that make tissues look the way they do. Precursor collagen gets released by fibroblastic cells. When injected into the skin, you can use fibroblasts to synthesize new skin tissue.

How do fibroblasts heal wounds?

Fibroblasts are one of the most common cell types in connective tissues, and they make up a lot of them. They oversee keeping the body’s tissues in balance under normal conditions. They are also involved with wound healing.

In injury, fibroblasts become activated and become myofibroblasts. This event causes contractions and makes ECM proteins to help close the wound. Both fibroblasts and myofibroblasts generate contractile forces, which allow the injury to close.

Inflammation, proliferation, and remodeling are three typical stages of wound healing. It happens during the growth phase, which signals granulation tissue formation. Contraction is an integral part of healing a wound because it helps close it.

Wound contraction in humans can be both good and bad. It helps wound healing by reducing the size of the wound margins, leading to the wound’s closure. Yet, excessive contraction leads to contracture and scarring, which can cause problems.

Fibroblasts are a type of cell that can be non-contractile or very contractile. You can find them in most tissues, from mesenchymal cells. Fibroblasts help keep tissues healthy by controlling the turnover of ECM.

Studies show that both fibroblasts and myofibroblasts help in the healing process. The traction of fibroblasts and the coordinated contraction of myofibroblasts are vital factors. When too many myofibroblasts are active, scar tissue can form, resulting in immobilization.

What happens to fibroblasts as we age?

Aging is a part of human nature. As all living creatures do, humans deteriorate and die when cells stop regenerating. The same is true with fibroblasts, which undergo impaired metabolism and collagen production.

As you age, your body loses fibrous tissue and slows cell turnover. There is also damage to the water barrier function. Normal physiological skin functions may decline by 50% until middle age.

Progressive tissue decay and hormonal changes are causes of intrinsic aging. Metabolic reactions such as oxidative stress can also be its cause. The elastic fibers in the dermis deteriorate, causing skin atrophy and tiny wrinkles.

Meanwhile, the causes of extrinsic aging are too much sun exposure or smoking. A decrease in antioxidant capacity makes the skin more susceptible to sun damage. Aging also results in increased reactive oxygen species produced by skin cell metabolism.

These stressors affect a lot of different biochemical pathways. Effects include growth factor receptor-II deficiency and damage to the skin’s structural proteins. Furthermore, some studies show that both mechanisms of aging have areas that overlap.

For the skin, telomeres keep getting shorter, making it hard for cells to reproduce. The matrix and fibroblast pattern expression remains fixed in the dermis for a long time. When stimulation, the cells grow, but the telomeres stay the same length.

References:

de Araújo, R., Lôbo, M., Trindade, K., Silva, D., & Pereira, N. (2019). Fibroblast Growth Factors: A Controlling Mechanism of Skin Aging. Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 32(5), 275–282.

Ivey, M. J., & Tallquist, M. D. (2016). Defining the Cardiac Fibroblast. Circulation Journal, 80(11), 2269–2276.

Kendall, R. T., & Feghali-Bostwick, C. A. (2014). Fibroblasts in fibrosis: novel roles and mediators. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 5.

Mandal, A. (2019, February 26). What are Fibroblasts? News-Medical

Nilforoushzadeh, M. A., Ahmadi Ashtiani, H. R., Jaffary, F., Jahangiri, F., Nikkhah, N., Mahmoudbeyk, M., Fard, M., Ansari, Z., & Zare, S. (2017). Dermal Fibroblast Cells: Biology and Function in Skin Regeneration. Journal of Skin and Stem Cell, In Press(In Press).

Sendic, G. (2022, March 16). Fibroblast. Kenhub.

Souders, C. A., Bowers, S. L. K., & Baudino, T. A. (2009). Cardiac Fibroblast. Circulation Research, 105(12), 1164–1176.

Wu, M., Cronin, K., & Crane, J. S. (2021, September 13). Biochemistry, Collagen Synthesis. Nih.gov; StatPearls Publishing. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK507709/#:~:text=The%20process%20of%20collagen% 20synthesis,occurs%20both%20intracellularly%20and%20extracellularly.

Blessed Easter to All!

vacation people woman writing
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What are epithelial tissues?

Written by Glicy Lou D. Garinggo

No matter how complex your body is, it is only composed of four basic tissue types. These are epithelial, connective, muscular, and nervous tissue.

What are epithelial tissues?

They make up cells and molecules from the extracellular matrix, but they don’t exist on their own. They work together and in different amounts to form other organs and systems in the body. They are also critical cells because they help the body do its job.

Epithelial tissues are polyhedral layers that are enclosed together. These tissues have very little extracellular material. These tissues stick together very well. They form sheets that cover the body’s surface and line its cavities.

The main functions of epithelial tissues are:

  • Covering, lining, and protecting surfaces (e.g., skin)
  • Absorbing (e.g., the intestines)
  • Secreting (e.g., the epithelial glands)
  • Contractility (e.g., myoepithelial glands)

There are some cells in some epithelia that are very good at sensing. These can be like those in the tongue or your nose lining. Everything has to go through an epithelial sheet to get into or leave the body.

How many types of epithelial tissue are there?

We can break Epithelia into two main groups based on their structure and function.

The covering (or lining) epithelial and glandular epithelia.

Covering or Lining Epithelia

It’s called a “covering” because the cells arrange themselves in layers. They cover the outside of the body or line the inside of it. You classify them by how many layers of cells there are and how the cells in the surface layer look. Simple epithelia have only one layer of cells. Stratified epithelia contain more than one layer.

You also base the shape of the cells that make up simple epithelia. They can be squamous (or thin cells), cuboidal(cube-like), or columnar (cells taller than they are wide).

Simple Squamous Epithelium

In simple squamous epithelium, this is in a single layer. The cells of the single-layer is flat and usually very thin. Only the thicker cell nucleus shows up as a bump to show that the cell is there. You can find simple epithelia on the inside of blood vessels.

You can also find them in other areas where substances can get into the rest of the body. They keep substances from getting into the rest of the body. Often, thin cells have transcytosis.

Simple Cuboidal epithelium

Cells in simple cuboidal epithelia can be tall or short. They’re the same height and width, but not always. Their thicker cytoplasm often has a lot of mitochondria in it. Having many powerhouses gives them a lot of energy to move things across the epithelia.

Simple Columnar Epithelium

Cells in simple columnar epithelia are taller than wide and denser. These cells are very good at absorbing. They have microvilli and mix with secretory cells or ciliated cells.

Those epithelial cells always have tight and firm junctions at their top ends. But they are often linked in the more basolateral parts of their bodies. This structure allows for rapid transfer to the space between the cells instead of moving across the cells.

Columnar cells have more cytoplasm. They tend to have more mitochondria and other organelles for absorption and processing. Examples include a renal collecting duct, the oviduct, and the gall bladder. They all have secretory and ciliated cells, like the oviduct and gall bladder.

Stratified Epithelium

We can also divide stratified epithelia into four groups. Again, by basing on the cell shape of the surface layer. These are squamous, cuboidal, columnar, and transitional.

We can call the fragile cell surface cells “nonkeratinized” or “keratinized.” Try to look at your skin and see a stratified squamous keratinized epithelium. Many cells form layers, and the cells near the connective tissue are usually low columnar or cuboidal.

The cells flatten and become irregular in shape as they build up keratin during keratinization. As they move closer to the surface, they become thin. They also got inactive packets of keratin without a nucleus.

Cells on this epithelia’s surface help keep water from leaking across it. Wet cavities have stratified, squamous, or nonkeratinized epithelia like the mouth, esophagus, and vagina.

In these areas where water loss is not a problem, the cells have much less keratin and still have nuclei.

Stratified Squamous Epithelium

Stratified squamous epithelia protect the underlying tissue from microorganisms and water loss. Protection against water loss and drying out is essential for the skin. The epithelia have keratin which means it is hard.

In time, epidermal cells of the skin become filled with keratin and other substances. Still, they also get rid of their nuclei and other parts of their bodies.

Flattened ‘squames’ on the surface form a layer that slows down water loss. They fall off and are replaced. Nonkeratinized epithelial linings are visible on many internal surfaces. Examples of these are the esophagus and the cornea.

This surface is because the differentiating cells have less keratin and keep their nuclei. Because water loss is less of a problem with these epithelia, they don’t need keratin.

Stratified Cuboidal and Stratified Columnar Epithelia

A layer of cells called stratified cuboidal or columnar epithelia isn’t pervasive. Still, you can find them in the excretory tubes of some glands. The double layer of cells makes the lining more durable than a simple epithelium.

Most epithelia are not layered cuboidal or layered columnar cells. We can find it in the conjunctiva, which lines the eyelids. It is both protective and mucus-secreting. Large excretory ducts of sweat and salivary glands only have stratified cuboidal epithelia. This type of tissue is stronger than the simple epithelium.

There are two types of cells in the transitional or urothelium:

Dome-shaped cells that are neither squamous nor columnar. You can see this type of cell only in the bladder, the ureter, and the upper part of the urethra. These cells, sometimes called umbrella cells, protect the body from urine. It is too acidic and could kill cells.

Transitional epithelium or urothelium

The stratified transitional epithelium lines of the urinary bladder have rounded or dome-shaped cells with two unusual features. There are membranes on the surface of the cells.

They can withstand the hypertonic effects of urine and protect the cells below from this toxic solution. Also, the transitional epithelium can change their structure as the bladder fills and the wall stretches.

This action makes the transitional epithelium of a full bladder seem to have fewer cell layers than an empty bladder. It’s called pseudostratified columnar epithelium because all cells attach to the basal lamina.

Their nuclei are at different epithelial levels, and some cells’ height doesn’t reach the surface. This type is also called the stratified columnar epithelium.

Most people know that pseudostratified columnar epithelium lines the upper respiratory tract. This arrangement also has a lot of columnar cells that are very ciliated.

Pseudostratified Epithelium

As the cells move, they appear to be in layers. But, the basal ends of these layers are all in contact with the basement membrane, which can be very thick in these epithelia. The best example of this type is the pseudostratified ciliated columnar epithelium of the upper respiratory tract. It has cell types with nuclei at different levels, making it look like cells piled.

Glandular Epithelia

Glandular epithelia are cells specialized to secrete. The molecules to secrete are in the cells in small membrane-bound vesicles called secretory granules.

Glandular epithelia may synthesize, store, and secrete proteins (e.g., in the pancreas), lipids (e.g., adrenal, sebaceous glands), or complexes of carbohydrates and proteins (e.g., salivary glands).

Mammary glands secrete all three substances. The cells of some glands have low synthetic activity (e.g., sweat glands) and secrete mostly water and electrolytes transferred into the gland from the blood.

The epithelia that form glands can be according to various criteria. Unicellular glands consist of large isolated secretory cells, and multicellular glands have clusters of cells. We use the term “gland” to designate large aggregates of secretory epithelial cells, such as salivary glands and the pancreas.

What epithelium is skin?

It is keratinized stratified squamous epithelium. It is the source of benign and malignant epidermal tumors found on the skin’s surface.

What is squamous epithelium?

The squamous epithelium consists of flat epithelial layers and looks like scales. The layers are more extensive than tall and look like polygons when seen from the top. It gives a smooth, low- friction surface, making it easy for fluids to move over.

Which epithelium is present in the tongue?

Like on the skin, the squamous epithelium layers on top of the connective tissue, or lamina propria, and the tongue’s muscles. This layer is the basal layer.

Epithelial tissues that are subject to friction, like the covering of the skin or tongue, are where they happen the most.

Which epithelium is present in the kidney?

Glands and kidney tubules have simple cuboidal epithelium, the same type found in both.

Which epithelium is present in the urinary bladder?

Lining epithelium: The urinary bladder lining is the urothelium, a type of stratified epithelia. You can find these body parts only in urinary structures like the ureter, urinary bladder, and proximal urethra.

The urothelium has three layers:

Innermost or apical layer: The innermost layer acts as a barrier between the bladder and other tissues below it. A single layer of umbrella-shaped layers (called umbrella cells) breaks down into two. They form an impenetrable barrier. Tight junctions between the cells and a layer of uroplakin, a glycoprotein, form a plaque on the surface that covers the umbrella layers.

Intermediate Layer: It comprises two to three layers of polygonal layers.

Basal Layer: It has two or three layers of small cuboidal layers. At rest, the urothelium is five to seven layers thick. When the bladder is full of urine, its wall expands to fit the extra space. It doesn’t hurt the bladder when the urothelium reorganizes into two or three layers in a distended bladder. Because the urothelium can move from one place to another, it is also called the transitional epithelia.

Which type of epithelium is in the respiratory tract?

The respiratory epithelium is a ciliated pseudostratified columnar epithelium covering most of the respiratory tract. You can’t find it in the larynx or pharynx, but it covers most of the respiratory tract.

Some epithelial layers are more likely to grow abnormally. This abnormal growth leads to cancer which we call neoplasia. Neoplastic growth has cured and does not always lead to cancer.

Metaplasia is another reversible process in which one type of epithelial tissue changes into another.

The ciliated pseudostratified epithelia that line the bronchi can become the stratified squamous epithelia in many people who smoke. In people who have a long-term lack of vitamin A, epithelial tissues like those found in the bronchi and urinary bladder become stratified squamous epithelia.

Metaplasia is not only found in epithelial tissue. It can also happen in connective tissue.

References:

Mescher, A. L., & Junqueira, L. C. U. (2016). Junqueira’s basic histology: Text and atlas (Fourteenth edition.). New York: McGraw-Hill Education.

Mescher, A. L., & Junqueira, L. C. U. (2016). Junqueira’s basic histology: Text and atlas (Twelfth edition.). New York: McGraw-Hill Education.

Microbiologynote (n.d.) Epithelial Tissue Definition, Characteristics, Types, and Functions. Date retrieved March 31, 2022 from https://microbiologynote.com/epithelial-tissue/

Biology online (2001). Squamous Epithelium. Date retrieved April 1, 2022 from https://www.biologyonline.com/dictionary/squamous-epithelium

National Library of Medicine (2018). Tongue and Taste Organ Biology and Function: Homeostasis

Maintained by Hedgehog Signaling. Date retrieved April 1, 2022 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5966821/#:~:text=Similar%20to%20the

%20skin%2C%20the,or%20lamina%20propria%2C%20and%20muscle.

NCBI (2022). History, Bladder. Date retrieved April 1, 2022 from

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK540963/#:~:text=Lining%20epithelium%3A% 20The%20urinary%20bladder,urinary%20bladder%2C%20and%20proximal%20urethra.

University of Thi-Qar (n.d.) Glandular Epithelia. Date retrieved April 2, 2022 from https://med.utq.edu.iq/wp-content/uploads/sites/7/2020/09/histology-lecture- 3.pdf

Is DNA the only genetic material?

Written by Ayessa G. Ibañez

Is DNA the only genetic material?
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Genetic material is the hereditary substance holding all information specific to an organism. DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is the best example and most common. Although it is present in humans and almost all organisms, DNA is not the only genetic substance.

Considering the definition mentioned, the genetic substance can be a gene, a part of a gene, and a group of genes. Genes are the functional units of inheritance. It contains the data needed to specify traits that pass from parents to offspring.

Moreover, the hereditary substance can be a DNA or RNA molecule, its fragment, and a group of DNA or RNA molecules. You can even include the entire genome of an organism.

They all are raw cellular materials of inheritance. They influence all aspects of the structure and function of an organism.

Deoxyribonucleic acid is the hereditary substance we humans have. Most of them are in the cell nucleus but can also be in the mitochondria. The information in DNA is in the form of code made up of four chemical bases: adenine (A), guanine (G), cytosine (C), and thymine (T).

Another type of hereditary substance is RNA or ribonucleic acid. We are not referring to the RNA present in our bodies. What is present in humans work as enzymes in protein synthesis, not as a hereditary substance.

The hereditary substance we refer to works in RNA viruses. It can be either single-stranded (ssRNA) or double-stranded (dsRNA).

There is also another form of inheritance material found in bacteria. Discrete, circular, and supercoiled, they are in the exterior chromosomes of certain bacteria. We call them plasmids.

Plasmids carry information encoding for non-essential characteristics like antibiotic resistance and toxins production. They are independent when replicating from the cell.

There are also conjugative plasmids that are extra-chromosomal deoxyribonucleic acid elements. They can transfer among bacteria making new features in the bacterial cell.

Although these are genetic information, most would prefer DNA as the main one. It is the molecule that fulfills the specific properties of hereditable material.

How do you identify genetic material?

There was a hypothesis stating that RNA stored genetic information in primitive cells. Some studies would say that RNA is the first hereditable material.

As already mentioned, most literature considers deoxyribonucleic acid as a genetic substance. But, before it was even deemed one, some geneticists found the hypothesis absurd. This is due to chromosomes, the carriers of the genetic material, having both DNA and protein.

The idea prompted scientists in the early 1900s to conduct experiments to prove it. The foundation of their studies relies on four criteria to identify genetic information. These are information, replication, stability, and mutation.

1.  Information

The function of living things is dependent on the data provided by the genetic substance. Thus, it must have the information necessary to construct an entire organism. It must provide the blueprint to determine the inherited traits of an organism.

2.  Replication

“A genetic material must carry out two jobs: duplicate itself and control the development of… the cell…,” quoted by Francis Crick.

Replication refers to the duplication of its genetic substance by consistent replication. The process is by duplicating the nucleic acid molecule.

This concept is familiar to most due to DNA replication. It is a rule before cell division, guaranteeing that each daughter cell has a copy of the genome.

This criterion is vital as hereditable substance passes down from parents to offspring.

3.  Stability

A genetic substance must be stable. Its structure is not easy to alter with the changing stages of life and the age of physiology of living beings.

For example, DNA can survive in heat-killed bacteria. Both the strands of deoxyribonucleic acid, which are complementary, can separate.

The hereditary stability depends on an accurate DNA replication system. It also relies on the success at various levels of DNA repair systems in the cells.

4.  Mutation

Mutations are crucial to evolution.

A genetic substance must have the capacity to cope with slow changes or mutations to evolve. Such change from mutation must inherit with stability.

Every new DNA sequence is due to a particular gene created from a new allele. Thus, every feature an individual has is a result of mutation.

What is another name for genetic material?

As already discussed, DNA is the raw material of inheritance of almost all living things. Another name that can also stand for genetic substance is a gene, the basic unit of heredity.

Genes are a small section of deoxyribonucleic acid. They are biochemical instructions within the genome that code for proteins. These proteins, in turn, impart or control the characteristics that create our individuality.

The role of genes is crucial as they store information.

The complete set of genetic instructions characteristic of an organism is the genome. It includes the protein-encoding genes and other DNA sequences.

The protein-encoding gene can vary in base sequence from person to person. The different forms of genes are the alleles.

Alleles with particular genes are in pairs, placed one on each chromosome. The combination of alleles influences an individual’s observable traits or phenotype.

Same alleles with a particular gene are homozygous. An individual will inherit the same alleles for a particular gene from both parents. For example, assume the gene of skin color has identical color alleles on the pairs.

Different alleles are heterozygous for that gene. The gene of hair color has two alleles, one code for white (R) and the other code for black (r).

A gene can mutate, causing changes in the DNA sequence that distinguish alleles. The change from the mutation passes on during cell division of the cell it contains.

If the change is in a sperm or egg cell that becomes a fertilized egg, it passes to the next generation.

What are the characteristics of genetic material?

An information carrier is not enough character to describe a hereditary substance. Several attributes a genetic material owns make it apart from others.

Below are the properties and functions that define the genetic substance.

  1. It is present in every cell.

2. It contains all the necessary biological information.

3. It is stable both in chemical and physical aspects.

4. It can store information in coded form.

5. It has control of the biological functions of cells.

6. It expresses its information in the form of Mendelian characters.

7. It is the same both in quantity and quality in all the somatic cells.

8. It presents diversity corresponding to the variety existing in the organisms.

9. Its replication is precise and passes over its true copies to the next generation.

10. It is capable of variations, for instance, mutation. The variations are stable and inheritable.

11. It can generate its own kind and new kinds of molecules.

12. It is capable of differential expressions. This factor allows diversity despite the same genetic information.

How is genetic material inherited?

We get most of our features from our parents, either our mom or dad or even our grandparents. Your body physique is from your dad, or you got your curly hair from your mom. Sometimes, you even wish you got your mother’s hazelnut eyes which you did not because you got your dad’s.

The similarity of the characteristics within your family is because of inheritance.

The concept of inheritance is somehow like the terminology used in finance. You pass down an asset to a particular individual or individual. But, in genetics, what you will pass down is your genetic information, an intangible asset we all have.

Inheritance is the transmission of traits from one generation to the next.

A deoxyribonucleic acid molecule comprises a chromosome. These chromosomes are in the nuclei of all human cells, excluding mature red blood cells. In every cell, there are 23 chromosomes of different pairs.

In sexual reproduction, the egg and sperm cells combine to form the first cell of a new organism. This process refers to fertilization.

The fertilized egg carries two sets of 23 chromosomes. We call this a diploid cell, meaning it has paired chromosomes, one from each parent. In total, the cell has 46 chromosomes.

The data within your parents’ chromosomes have a copy of the new cells made during cell division. The fertilized egg now has the complete set of instructions needed to make more cells.

The inheritance of hereditary substances is evident in the characteristics your family has. Heritage is not limited to physical traits, but diseases can be also passed down.

There are instances of genetic mutation, and the parents can also pass it down to their children. This is why some members can get the diseases that run in families.

Why is deoxyribose called deoxyribose?

Deoxyribose or 2-deoxyribose is the DNA’s sugar. It is a pentose sugar with five carbon atoms connected to each other to form a ring-like shape.

Its five-sided ring-like structure consists of four carbons. The fifth carbon is in the ring, which is branching off.

The structure of deoxyribose coins the name itself.

The pentagon shape of the molecule has 1′-4′ starting at the carbon at the right side of the oxygen. The numbering of carbon moves in a clockwise direction.

The numbers have the upper-right stroke mark (‘). They are not written in plain numbers because the mark indicates that it is a prime. A prime denotes carbon atoms in sugar from the carbon and nitrogen atoms in the nitrogenous base.

The term for the sugar of DNA is deoxyribose because it does not have a hydroxyl group at the 2′ position. Instead, it has hydrogen.

There is a change in the standard ribose form, causing replacement on the hydroxyl group (–OH) of 2′ carbon. A hydrogen group (–H) replaces the hydroxyl group (–OH).

What is the backbone of DNA?

The DNA molecule is a polymer of long, chainlike molecules of monomers. Monomers are subunits of a larger polymer chain. In deoxyribonucleic acid, the repeating structural unit is the nucleotides.

Nucleotides are the basic unit of deoxyribose acid. In the body, they are part of the components of nucleic acids or work as individual molecules.

The nucleotide is a complex molecule made up of three distinct components. These are sugar, a nitrogenous base, and a phosphate group.

Phosphate groups are a set of specific atoms of phosphorus. They are identical across all nucleotides.

As for the sugar, the component is exactly what it sounds like—the usual sugar, like the ones which are part of our diets. Nucleotides may contain one of the various types of sugar molecules. For deoxyribonucleic acid, the sugar found in the nucleotides is pentose.

From its root word pent-, a pentose is a sugar that comprises five carbon atoms. The certain type of pentose present in the nucleotides found in DNA is 2’-deoxyribose.

Pentose sugars can be in two forms. It can be straight-chain, or Fischer structure; and the ring, or Haworth structure. In DNA, it is the ring form of 2’-deoxyribose that is present in the nucleotide.

Nucleotides join into long chains between the deoxyribose sugars and the phosphates. This creates a continuous sugar-phosphate backbone.

Hence, the backbone of a DNA strand consists of a phosphate group and a pentose sugar, deoxyribose.

References

Alberts B, Johnson A, Lewis J, et al. Molecular Biology of the Cell. 4th edition. New York: Garland Science; 2002. The RNA World and the Origins of Life. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK26876/

Ancestry (n.d.) DNA Structure. Retrieved from https://www.ancestry.com/lp/dna-structure

Ancestry           (n.d.)           What           Is           DNA’s           Sugar?           Retrieved           from https://www.ancestry.com/lp/what-is-dna-made-of/dna-sugar#:~:text=The%20carbons%20in%20 the%20pentagon,group%20at%20the%202’%20position.

Biology Online Editors. (2022). Genetic material. Retrieved from https://www.biologyonline.com/dictionary/genetic-material.

Bhagavan, N. & Ha, C. (2015). Chapter 22 – DNA Replication, Repair, and Mutagenesis. Essentials of Medical Biochemistry (Second Edition) With Clinical Cases 2015, Pages 401-417. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-416687-5.00022-1.

Brown, T. (2012). Introduction to Genetics: A Molecular Approach. Garland Science, Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. ISBN 978-0-8153-6509-9

BYJU. (n.d.). Genetic Material- DNA vs RNA. Retrieved from https://byjus.com/biology/genetic-material-dna-rna/.

Carlin, J. L. (2011) Mutations Are the Raw Materials of Evolution. Nature Education Knowledge 3(10):10

Collins, F. (n.d.). Gene. Retrieved from https://www.genome.gov/genetics-glossary/Gene.

Genetic Material: Definition, Structure & Function. (2016). Retrieved fromhttps://study.com/academy/lesson/genetic-material-definition-structure-function.html.

Genetic Science Learning Center. (2016) What is Inheritance? Retrieved February from https://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/basics/inheritance/

John R.McCarrey, J. (2018). Genetic Vs. Epigenetic Inheritance Overview. Encyclopedia of Reproduction         (Second        Edition)         Volume        3,         2018,         Pages         434-435.

Kumar, S. (n.d.). Top 8 Characteristics and Properties Genetic Material. Retrieved from https://www.biologydiscussion.com/genetics/genetic-material/top-8-characteristics-and-propertie s-genetic-material/15434

Lewis, R. (2009). Human Genetics: Concepts and Applications. 9th Ed. McGraw−Hill Primis. ISBN−10: 0−39−023244−0

Samiksha, S. (n.d.) Genetic Material: Nature and Properties of Genetic Material. Retrieved from https://www.yourarticlelibrary.com/genetics/genetic-material-nature-and-properties-of-genetic-m aterial/12145

The       American       Phytopathological       Society       (n.d.)       Mutation.      Retrieved      from https://www.apsnet.org/edcenter/disimpactmngmnt/topc/PopGenetics/Pages/Mutation.aspx#:~:te xt=Mutation%20is%20important%20as%20the,specific%20gene%20through%20intragenic%20r ecombination.

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What are DNA and genes?

Written by Nichole Isabelle J. Fidel

What are DNA and genes? DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) contains genetic information and instruction about the cell.

What are DNA and genes? You would often hear that parents pass on their traits and characteristics to their kids. Heredity is the term associated with the passing down of traits from parents to kids. Genetics studies how those traits pass down through the generation.

You need to distinguish both terms to understand how heredity and genetics work. Functional units often make up complex units.

For example, the gene is the primary and functional unit of heredity. Moreover, your DNA makes up your gene. DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) contains genetic information and instruction about the cell.

Genes consist of portions of DNA. Your genes contain the information required to synthesize proteins. These proteins play a huge part in expressing a trait.

The human body contains around 25,000 to 35,000 genes. Each gene in your body has its own task.

You can find DNA everywhere—in plants, animals, and the human body. Each cell in your body contains DNA. Your DNA is so complex that scientists could not see what it looked like until 60 years ago.

The deoxyribonucleic acid dictates the activities of your cell. It tells how a living thing like you looks and works in simple terms. Your DNA determines your height, the color of your eyes, and other characteristics. It even determines whether you might be at risk of acquiring a disease.

You inherit your DNA from your parents, both your mother and father. DNA is essential since cells can’t function without these minute structures.

DNA, despite its very small size, is a very complex structure. Nucleotides serve as the building blocks of your DNA. This genetic information carrier has the following parts.

  • Five-carbon sugar molecule
  • Phosphate group
  • Nitrogen-containing base

Among these, the nitrogen-containing base is what makes you, you. It is because of the sequence of the base that codes for the traits. You can find the genetic coding among the four nitrogenous bases:

  • Adenine (A)
  • Thymine (T)
  • Cytosine (C) and
  • Guanine (G)

These bases pair in a particular way. That is— adenine pairs with thymine and cytosine with guanine. These base pairs repeat themselves in different order along each strand of DNA.

The human DNA alone contains around 3 billion pairs of these nitrogenous bases. The arrangement of the bases is critical. It functions as a code that instructs cells to produce specific types of proteins.

You can think of deoxyribonucleic acid as a ladder. It is a double helix that coils into a spiral staircase form. Nucleotides run up on both sides. Located in the middle are the base pairs held together by hydrogen bonds.

Since these structures are tiny, you need to use an electron microscope to view them.

The healthy functioning of your DNA allows the healthy functioning of your DNA. The synthesis of proteins requires the presence of deoxyribonucleic acid. Also, the reproduction of an organism is dependent on the hereditary material.

Oftentimes, a process referred to as mutations happen. This occurs as a result of errors in the DNA. It is capable of causing sickness and other complications.

Where is DNA located?

You can find DNA in almost all living organisms. But, in the human body, you can find them inside your cells’ nucleus. You can also find DNA in the mitochondrion.

In your body, around 30 trillion cells are present. And inside these cells, most, but not all, contain DNA. Cells such as your red blood cells, hair cells, and nail cells do not have DNA.

A human cell has approximately six picograms (pg) of DNA. It is less than the weight of a grain of rice, which weighs around 29 billion picograms.

Your cells have a nucleus structure, which contains your deoxyribonucleic acid. The DNA found in the nucleus of your cell is nuclear DNA.

DNA is also found in the mitochondria—the cell’s powerhouse. This type of DNA is the mitochondrial DNA or the mtDNA. DNA found in the mitochondria is not linear; it is circular.

Mitochondria (sing. mitochondrion) are structures that convert energy from food. It transforms it into a form that cells can use for their activities.

The nucleus has a crucial role in our cells. It serves as the cell’s command center. It is because it contains the DNA, which carries the genetic instructions for the cell. These instructions are essential for an organism to develop, survive and reproduce.

Inside the nucleus is a thread-like structure called chromosomes. DNA composes each of your chromosomes. Your DNA packs itself several times around proteins called histones.

The histones found in the chromosome helps a chromosome maintain its structure. In order for the long DNA molecules to fit in the cell nucleus, it wraps around the histones. The result would be a compact shape for the chromosome.

Humans have over six feet of DNA distributed across 46 chromosomes.

You can find DNA in the chloroplast in other organisms such as plants and eukaryotic algae. For prokaryotes, such as bacteria, the cytoplasm stores DNA.

Can two people have the same DNA?

According to studies, the DNA of us humans and chimpanzees are 98 to 99 percent identical. But the question of whether two people have the same DNA is unlikely. The DNA of two human beings can only be 99.9 percent similar, but they are not the same.

The majority of our DNA dictates our humanness rather than our uniqueness.

As human species, we have little genetic diversity.

Two unrelated persons have a DNA difference of roughly one in every 1,000 base pairs. But, the human genome has three billion base pairs. Having an average of three million genetic differences between two strangers is small.

SNPs are responsible for the variation in genetics among people. SNP stands for single nucleotide polymorphisms. It occurs when a single letter of the genetic code alters.

The human genome contains an approximate number of 20 million recognized SNPs. It indicates that the odds of two people having the same DNA are equal to having a deck of 20 million cards.

Each SNP denotes a variation in a single DNA building unit known as a nucleotide. You can find SNPs throughout your DNA.

Literature suggests that they occur around once every 1,000 nucleotides on average. According to some studies, a person’s genome has four to five million SNPs.

These variations may be unique or shared by a large number of individuals. Scientists have identified over 100 million SNPs in populations worldwide.

The variations in your DNA serve as biological markers. It assists researchers in identifying genes connected with disease.

When SNPs occur within a gene or a regulatory region next to a gene, they may directly affect the disease. They can do so by changing the function of the gene.

The majority of single nucleotide polymorphisms do not affect your health or development. Yet, some of these genetic differences have been shown to be significant in studying human health.

SNPs are important since it aids in predicting the following:

  • aid in predicting an individual’s response to specific treatments
  • vulnerability to environmental factors such as pollutants
  • risk of developing specific diseases.

Scientists may also use SNPs to trace disease gene inheritance within families.

What is the difference between chromosomes and genes?

Chromosomes are microscopic structures consisting of DNA and protein found inside your cells. Each chromosome contains distinct segments of DNA called genes—the unit of heredity.

Each gene has the instructions or recipe for producing a specific protein. These proteins dictate our growth and the characteristics we inherit from our parents. In simple terms, the proteins produced do the work within your cells and body.

The following factors influence your genes:

  • nutrition (diet)
  • chemical exposure
  • activities
  • aging
  • instructions and messages from other genes

You can think of your chromosomes as strings of genes connected with non-coding DNA. The chromosomes which contain your genes are DNA-containing molecules.

You can find your chromosomes inside all the cells in your body except the RBCs. Red blood cells lack a nucleus, and since they lack a nucleus, they lack chromosomes.

When a cell is not dividing, the chromosomes are in their chromatin form. It is also known as the interphase of the cell cycle.

A long, thin strand is what it appears to be in this state. Shorter tubes form as the cell divides, as the strand repeats itself.

The centromere is where the two tubes come together before the separation. P arms are the shorter arms of the tubes. The longer arms are the q arms.

You can find 23 pairs of chromosomes in each of your body cells. It means that you have 46 chromosomes in each body cell.

Where do you get 46 chromosomes? 23 chromosomes from your mother’s egg (ovum) and 23 from your father’s sperm make up your DNA.

When fertilization happens, wherein the sperm and the egg unite, it creates the baby’s first cell. This cell replicates to generate all the infant’s cells. The infant now contains 23 pairs of chromosomes—identical to their parents.

Scientists term the 23rd pair of chromosomes the X/Y pair. The X/Y pairs determine your sex. If you have the XX chromosome, your sex is female. Having an XY chromosome would imply that you are a male.

Tightly coiled DNA makes up each of your chromosomes. If we extend it out, it may resemble beads on a thread. The beads referred to are your genes.

Each of your genes contains instructions for the production of a specific protein. You can find around 20,867 protein-coding genes in the human genome. Between the genes are non-coding DNA segments.

Can siblings have the same DNA?

Siblings inherit DNA from their parents. Thus, it is safe to say that they share much of the same DNA with slight variations. The slight variations in the DNA account for the distinct characteristics they have.

The variations in the DNA are due to a process called genetic recombination. It occurs throughout the process of creating sperm and eggs in your body.

Genetic recombination reduces the number of chromosomes in normal cells by half. That is, from 46 to 23 chromosomes. It results in a full genetic bundle when sperm and egg join during conception.

Each child receives half of their DNA from each parent, but this is not always true. Full siblings will share a small amount of their DNA with both parents. On both the mother and father’s strands of DNA, the siblings will match at the same place.

Many causes can lead to changes in our DNA code. These include radiation exposure, chemical exposure, random mutations, and other unknown factors.

We are all unique because of the variations in our genetic code. Even identical twins are born with slight differences in their DNA.

How many DNA is in a chromosome?

Your DNA is a long molecule that coils itself to form your chromosome. There are roughly 3.1 billion DNA bases in each set of 23 chromosomes. There are around 3.2X10^9 DNA nucleotide pairs in your human genome.

Your cells undergo continuous division to produce new cells as you grow older. During the process of division, your chromosomes become a rod-shaped structure. During the division process, you see your chromosome in a rod-shaped structure.

Specific dyes stain your chromatin. Chromatin is a structure in your chromosome. In testing, the dyes generate distinct banding patterns sorted in size order. A karyotype is the result of this process.

Using these patterns, scientists can determine the size and shape of each

chromosome. Scientists often number the chromosomes in order and size. Autosomes are numbered chromosomes.

How many sexes do humans have?

A human has two sexes—male and female. Your sex chromosomes, the 23rd pair, determine your sex. Women have two X chromosomes in their cells, whereas men have both X and Y.

Egg and sperm cells have an X or Y chromosome, but only egg cells have an X chromosome. That is why when fertilization occurs; the male determines the sex of the offspring.

Having an XX chromosome indicates that you are a female. You are a male if you have XY chromosomes.

Females have 44 autosomal chromosomes in their bodies. According to some sources, they have a karyotype 46, XX. There are fewer chromosomes in eggs than male reproductive cells, making them unique.

Males have a 46, XY karyotype. Because only half of the chromosomes in sperm are present, sperm are distinctive.

The X chromosome is larger than the Y chromosome. It is intriguing since it means that these two chromosomes are distinct. Genetically, they’re also very diverse.

Other creatures share a similar condition, even if their chromosomes have different names.

References:

Biology for Kids: Chromosomes. (n.d.). Ducksters.Com. Retrieved March 25, 2022, from https://www.ducksters.com/science/biology/chromosomes.php

Crow, J. F. (n.d.). Unequal by nature: a geneticist’s perspective on human differences. American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Retrieved March 22, 2022, from https://www.amacad.org/publication/unequal-nature-geneticists-perspective-human-differences

Finegold, D. N. (2022, March 17). Genes and Chromosomes. MSD Manual Consumer Version. Retrieved March 25, 2022, from https://www.msdmanuals.com/home/fundamentals/genetics/genes-and- chromosomes#:%7E:text=Genes%20are%20segments%20of%20deoxyribonucleic,that%20contai n%20a%20person’s%20genes.

Histone. (n.d.). Genome.Gov. Retrieved March 22, 2022, from https://www.genome.gov/genetics- glossary/histone

OpenStaxCollege. (2013, March 6). The Nucleus and DNA Replication – Anatomy & Physiology.

Pressbooks. Retrieved March 22, 2022, from http://pressbooks- dev.oer.hawaii.edu/anatomyandphysiology/chapter/the-nucleus-and-dna- replication/#:%7E:text=The%20nucleus%20houses%20the%20genetic,and%20condenses%20to

%20form%20chromosomes.

Villazon, L. (2020, April 20). Could two people who aren’t twins have the same DNA? BBC Science Focus Magazine. Retrieved March 22, 2022, from https://www.sciencefocus.com/the-human- body/could-two-people-who-arent-twins-have-the-same-dna/

What are single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs)?: MedlinePlus Genetics. (n.d.). Medlineplus.Gov.

Retrieved March 22, 2022, from https://medlineplus.gov/genetics/understanding/genomicresearch/snp/

What is a chromosome?: MedlinePlus Genetics. (n.d.). Medlineplus.Gov. Retrieved March 22, 2022, from https://medlineplus.gov/genetics/understanding/basics/chromosome/#:%7E:text=In%20the%20nu cleus%20of%20each,histones%20that%20support%20its%20structure.

What Is a Gene? (for Kids) – Nemours KidsHealth. (n.d.). Genetics.Edu.Au. Retrieved March 25, 2022, from https://kidshealth.org/en/kids/what-is-gene.html

What is DNA?: MedlinePlus Genetics. (n.d.). Medlineplus.Gov. Retrieved March 22, 2022, from https://medlineplus.gov/genetics/understanding/basics/dna/#:%7E:text=Most%20DNA%20is%20 located%20in,form%20that%20cells%20can%20use.

Where is DNA Found? (n.d.). Ancestry.Com. Retrieved March 22, 2022, from https://www.ancestry.com/lp/where-is-dna-found

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