Biochemistry

Beta Cells

Beta cells are cells that can produce insulin, a hormone that regulates the amount of glucose in the blood, very quickly when glucose levels spike. These beta cells that are found in the pancreas are important as extreme levels of glucose can be fatal. A chronic loss of beta cells leads to abnormal glucose levels, resulting in Type 1 diabetes, a disease that is usually found in children and young adults.

Eicosanoids

Eicosanoids are a family of hormones that participate in communication between cells also known as intercellular communication. Hormones within this family perform many different duties and are involved in almost all physiological processes. One particularly important process that eicosanoids participate in is water re-absorption by the kidneys. The eicosanoid hormone regulates whether water is reabsorbed and the amount.

Neurons

Neurons are nerve cells. They perform an assortment of different roles in the body. In general, neurons are a means of transferring information between different tissues and organs of the human body.

Apoptosis

Apoptosis is the mechanism by which tissue cells in humans die. This is an important process as it maintains homeostasis - balance - and allows for new cells to form.

Myocytes

There are various forms of myocytes in a human body. Of these a particularly fascinating myocyte is the cardiac myocyte. These cells "beat" individually during the initial stages of embryonic development. However, after a few days the individually cells form into a connected sheet of myoctye cells and beat together in unison.

Estrogen

Believe it or not, everyone’s body contains a certain amount of this hormone. It helps the body develop secondary female characteristics, such as breasts, as well as male reproductive functions for the maturation of sperm.

The Same DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid)

DNA from all organisms is made up of the same chemical and physical components. DNA molecules are shaped like a twisted ladder (“double helix”). Each rung/step is made up of a Base pair of nucleotide (molecules) bases, either A (Adenine) and T (Thymine) or C (Cytosine) and G (Guanine)). These Base pairs are held together by a band of Sugar phosphate on either end. The DNA sequence is a particular side-by-side arrangement of bases (half of the ladder) along the DNA strand (e.g., ATTCCGGA). The genome is an organism’s complete set of DNA.

Photo Credit: 
U.S. Department of Energy Genome Programs (http://genomicscience.energy.gov)

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