Thursday, July 7, 2011

Animal and Plant Toxins

Toxins have been used since the early years by humans for hunting, fishing and warfare like the cave dwellers. Based on some educational shows, up to the present time some tribes in some countries still practice this.

Toxins can cause skin allergies, hallucinations, dizziness, paralysis and death or any bad reaction in the body but according to Paracelsus, the "father of toxicology", toxin may have no effect or can also cause positive reaction when a small right amount of dosage is introduced (hormesis).

This phenomenon is called "Dosage-Response Relationship". That is why he quoted the words "All substances are poisons; there is none which is not a poison. The right dose differentiates a poison and a remedy." He also documented chemicals that were actually responsible for the toxicity of a plant or an animal and even the body’s response to the toxin.

Animal toxin
North American Diamond back Rattlesnake
Crotolase- is an enzyme from snake venom that can be extracted from a North American Rattle snake, which causes severe bleeding. When Crotolase is introduced in the body of an animal, it splice off only fibrin peptide A which results into a monomer that is unable to polymerize.

Portuguese Man of War

Nematocysts- are actually cells which introduce toxin and it is unique to the phylum Cnidaria. It is usually found on outer surface of an organism, which in a jellyfish it is found on their tentacles. These cells are acknowledged as stinging cells which are used to inject toxins.

                The High molecular weight toxin (P3) from a Physalia physalis (Portuguese Man of war); reversibly blocks the glutamate receptors which are the integral parts of nervous system.

Tetrodotoxin-is a toxin commonly produced by blue ringed octopus, poison-dart frogs and pufferfish. The toxin causes paralysis of the respiratory musculature that leads to death.
Yellow Banded Poison Frog
Blue Ringed Octopus

Plant toxins

Methylazoxy Glycoside- It is a compound chemical found on cycasin plant that when eaten, metabolized and by P450 enzyme it is converted into an intermediate toxin which is possibly carcinogenic.

Pink Foxgloves

Cardiac and steroidal Glycoside- Is a toxin found on foxgloves which can cause nausea, vomiting, hallucination, convulsions or death.  

Linamarin – is a cyanogenic glycoside toxin found on Cassava’s leaves and roots, lima beans and flax.
Lima beans
Flax seeds

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Anterior Pituitary

Ohh my Pituitary you’re so small
and yet powerful for I to adore.
You’re also called “master gland” as I recall.
A zealot I’m as I explore.

Anterior and posterior are your lobes.
Damn, So many Hormones.
Thankfully anterior pituitary is the focus
Of this poem and hoping not to be confuse.

Growth hormone promotes our body growth.
Hypersecretion and Hyposecretion must be note.
Over secretion can cause Gigantism.
And under secretion can cause dwarfism.

Luteinizing hormones and Follicle stimulating hormone are mainly for stimulation
to start the sex hormone production.
Testosterone is the sex hormone for males
and estrogen and progesterone for females.

Adrenocorticotrophic Hormone is such a long word
But you can use ACTH as a catchword.
It is for stimulation of adrenal cortex
in order to stabilize the body’s normal process.

Thyroid stimulating hormone, what the hell it is?!
As I read, I discovered that thyroid is the main accomplice.
Thyroid can be found at the neck.
T3 and T4 are thyroid hormones.

Prolactin is obviously for women,
women who have given birth,
for their baby’s health.
For it simulates production of milk.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Endocrinology, Toxicology & Drug testing

Clinical Chemistry 3 as a subject, it's main focus is on Endocrinology, Toxicology & Drug testing.

Endocrinology from it's root words "endocrine" and "logy", it means it is a branch of science that deals or studies endocrine glands and their secretions, particularly functions and processes and even disease that are involved.

Endocrine glands are unique from other glands in a way that they lack canals or tubes to introduce their secretions and so they are called "ductless glands"

There are about 9 endocrine glands:

  • Hypothalamus
  • Pituitary gland
  • Pineal gland
  • Thyroid gland
  • Parathyroid gland
  • Pancreas
  • Ovaries
  • Testicles

for further reading:

Toxicology is a branch of science that encompass harmful effects of chemicals on living things and antidotes that can negate harmful effects of toxins. 

Therapeutic drugs also have a toxic effect either by accumulation of the drug in the body or by overdose; while abused drugs like Amphetamines, cocaine, opiates, sedatives and etc have an addicting effect and toxic effect. 

Toxic agents have different nature from biological(eg. snake venom), chemical(eg. Cyanide) to physical(eg. radiation).

Toxins are substances or chemicals that are naturally derived and/or exposed. 

Toxicants are  man-made substances or chemicals that may be derived from natural resources.

Poisons are substances or chemicals that when introduced or absorbed by a living thing it instantly kills or produce harm even in small quantities.

Antidotes are medicine given to counteract the influence of poison or an attack of disease

Toxins, Toxicants, Poisons differentiation according to specific effect:
  • Teratogenic substances can cause deleterious effect and/or child malformation on a developing baby.
  • Carcinogenic substances can cause abnormal clonal uncontrolled proliferation of genetically altered cells.
  • Mutagenic substances can induce genetic alteration.
for further reading:

Drug Testing is an chemical test to identify and quantify legal or illegal drugs taken by a person. 

Specimens collected for drug testing can be blood, saliva, fingernail scrapping, hair and commonly on urine.

Drug tests can include all prescription drugs as well as illegal drugs and alcohol. Some of the most commonly tested for chemicals include:
  • Cocaine
  • Amphetamines
  • Alcohol 
  • Morphine
  • Phencyclidine (PCP) 
  • Heroin
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Hydromorphone
  • Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
  • Propoxyphene
  • Methadone
  • Codeine
  • Barbiturates
  • Antidepressants
Now a days drug testing is commonly done before employment and even check up of employees. An issue that is still on debate, that children are required to take up drug tests before enrollment.  

for further reading: