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The Epicardial cells in the zebra fish’s heart

Hi everyone I’m an epicardial cell, I live and work in my house the heart of the zebra fish.





Epicardial cells are located in the epicardium region of the heart, the epicardium is derived from the proepicardial organ, a source of multipotent progenitor cells. During early cardiac development, cells derived from the proepicardial organ (a cluster of cells located dorsal and adjacent to the looped heart tube) migrate over the myocardium to form the epicardium.Image

 When the heart is damaged the blood around the injured area clots with aid of the a fibrin cloth that seals over the injured area in seconds. I want to be a brand new blood vessel when i grow up. When the muscle cells grow back I am responsible for the regeneration of the cardiovascular structure of the new muscle cells. The epicardium then surrounds the clotted area via cell division and migration, over the next few months the clotted blood is replaced by new cardiac muscle and then when the muscle is regrown, growth factors like FGF1 are produced and act as signals to the epicardial cells in the epicardium area of the heart. They migrate into the newly developed muscle cells and begin the new cardiovascular vessels in the new muscle cells, forming new  blood vessels to provide essential blood flow to the regenerating tissue and over  time, the wounded zebra fish’s heart will return to nearly its original shape, size, and pumping ability.

Enzymes are they all good?

When we think of enzymes, we usually think of globular proteins that catalyze reactions and allow life to move at a relatively normal pace. We think about protease that cause the hydrolysis of the peptide bonds in proteins and is used generally in the cheese making industry so that we can have our pizza or macaroni pie., however there is another use of enzyme and that is in DEATH.

Snakes have a very reputation and people generally don’t like them. I however like and respect them as lethal precision hunters, some are non-venomous like the anaconda; some are skilled at chemical warfare and very venomous. Snake venom is a highly modified saliva that contains many different powerful toxins, each snake have a cocktail of venom catered to their specific requirements. Unlike most other predators, all snakes swallow prey whole, so are especially vulnerable to injury if their prey animals are active. Most snake venoms contain specific proteins that (1) paralyze the prey so that it no longer moves (2) interfere with normal blood clotting mechanisms so that the animal goes into shock and (3) begin the process of digestion by breaking down the tissues of the prey animal. I will look at two snakes, the King Cobra ( the largest venomous snake ) and the Gaboon Viper ( it has the longest fangs of all snakes, approx. 2 inches ).

The king cobra averages at 3 to 4 m (9.8 to 13 ft) in length and typically weighs about 6 kg (13 lb).King-Cobra-1

The venom of the king cobra consists primarily of neurotoxins, but it also contains cardiotoxic and some other compounds, similar to other venomous creatures, toxic constituents inside the venom are mainly proteins and polypeptides. Neurotoxins affect nerves and cause paralysis and the general shutdown of organs and muscles, they work by blocking the neuromuscular junction.The neuromuscular junction is the microscopic connection between a motor nerve fiber and a muscle fiber, signals are transmitted from nerve to muscle using messengers called, acetylcholine.Neurotoxins in snake venom can block transmission of acetylcholine from nerve to muscle at the side of the nerve ending (pre-synaptic, before the synapse), or affect the activity of the muscle fiber past the synapse (post-synaptic, after the synapse). Most commonly, the postsynaptic method of producing paralysis is an anti-cholinesterase toxin in venom that prevents acetylcholinesterase from degrading the acetylcholine. Most snake venoms contain toxins that cause paralysis by both methods: pre and postsynaptic interference.

Can you spot the Gaboon viper?




Adult Gaboon vipers average 122–152 cm (4 to 5 feet) in length with a maximum of 205 cm and are the largest and heaviest of the viper family. Its venom like alot of vipers is hematoxic and cytotoxic, it acts directly on the tissues that lies in its path. The  venom can cause ‘hemolysis’ of red blood cells which can eventually lead to a depletion of red blood cells in the circulation. When there aren’t enough red blood cells, the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood would also deplete and many body organs including the brain, heart, liver and the kidneys will suffer as a result.Some common enzymes in snake venoms increase bleeding by preventing the formation of clots, and others by breaking down established clots. Both of these types of enzymes include metalloproteases. Other toxins increase ‘bleeding time’ by inhibiting the aggregation of platelets. Metalloproteases are protein enzymes the break down protein structures, Matrix metalloproteinases are zinc-dependent endopeptidases that basically degrade the extra-cellular matix and causes the restructuring of protein structures.

it isnt in english but it paints a picture



Amino acids

Amino acids are organic compounds that combine to form proteins. They are the building blocks of proteins, enzymes and ultimately life; amino acids are subdivided into essential and non-essential amino acids. Essential amino acids are those that cannot be synthesized by our body and thus we must acquire it from our diet. Non-essential amino acids are those that we can readily synthesize via different processes in our body.Amino_Acids.svg

One easy way i have found to help remember theses amino acids is to make your own pin up chart, categorize each into their groups, draw them over and colour code .


oats or even doubles can help boost your testosterone level??

So we are moving along quite smoothly in biochemistry and i can confidently say i am grasping the concepts of carbohydrates, amino acids, proteins and now enzymes. Our lecturer is quite good at explaining the material and has encouraged us to be creative, however i am quite pressed for time so, my creativity will be in the topics i choose and how i go about explaining them.

I was browsing the internet and came across an article in a men’s magazine about the benefits of oats and an essential amino acid called L-argininearginine.

We have all heard that oats are good for you as a good source of carbohydrates and fiber, but it was a surprise for me to find out that it can help boost your testosterone level.  Eating oatmeal is one of the few natural ways to boost testosterone in the bloodstream, testosterone plays a significant role in sex drive and orgasm strength in both men and women. Oats contain L-arginine, an amino acid that enhances the effect nitric oxide has on reducing blood vessel stiffness. L-arginine has been used to treat erectile dysfunction. It helps relax muscles around blood vessels in the penis, so when blood vessels dilate, blood flow increases so a man can maintain an erection.

The amino acid arginine changes into nitric oxide (NO) which is a powerful neurotransmitter that helps blood vessels relax and also improves circulation. I will have to stop here today since i am pressed for time but on my next post i will go more in depth

what is glycogen and why it is more efficient in delivering energy than starch

Glycogen is the animal equivalent of starch, it is the form in which excess glucose is stored in the liver and muscle through the process of glycogenisis, where glucose molecules are joined by alpha 1-4 glycosidic bonds as well as alpha 1-6 bonds which are branched from the main polysaccharide chain.
Even though glycogen is similar to amylopectin, in terms of being branched. The branching in glycogen is more frequent than amylopectin, glycogen has branching every 8-10 units of glucose, while amylopectin has 12-20 glucose molecules between each branch. This amount of branching allows glycogen to release usable energy alot faster, thus allowing an athlete or a cheetah to sprint and win an olympic gold medal or catch a gazelle.
A cheetah is stalking the young gazelle, who is leisurely eating grass. The cheetah reaches its staging area and crouches ready to explode into motion. The gazelle is warned and runs, but the cheetah has already started sprinting towards its prey.
We will now take you inside the cheetah to show you how its muscles are using glycogen to run down and kill its prey. At the moment its starts sprinting, glycogen has been broken down into glucose-1-phosphate and further into glucose-6-phosphate, from then on energy is released through glycolysis, where both brain and muscle are feed by the energy. Glycogen is a prefered energy source when strenuous, sudden activity such as sprinting.
A cheetah being a sprinting animal, will have primarily fast twitch muscles and these muscles, especially type 2b fast twitch muscles use anaerobic metabolism to create energy. Glycogen is ideal, even though not as energy rich as fatty acids, can break down and metabolize anaerobically via the pentose phosphate pathway.Cheetah-Chasing-Gazelle