Sick to My Stomach

"From the world of darkness I did loose demons and devils in the power of scorpions to torment."
    - Charles Manson

 It took me many hours this morning to learn a different language. Many of the terms used in scientific studies take years of post-undergraduate study specific to a sphere of science to fully comprehend.

 Although I speak the basic language of (what I refer to as) SCIENTEASE, I am often not fully fluent in specialized disciplines. Translating scientease to English in 25 words or less, here is what the investigators did:

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Researchers intentionally scalded mice so that the creatures experienced fifteen percent burns. The scientists then killed the animals and examined various brain and muscle tissues.

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Today's study was performed in China on mice and published in the January, 2013 issue of Neuroscience by Zhang QH, Li JC, Dong N, et. al.

The title of the study:

"Burn injury induces gelsolin expression and cleavage in the brain of mice." Having no concept of the meaning of gelsolin, I began my one-hour education by accessing google.


Gelsonin: A calcium-dependent actin-binding protein that modulates actin filament length

Actin: a muscle protein responsible for contraction and relaxation of muscle

Myofibril: a basic rod-like series of proteins which hold muscles together

Cleavage: Cell division

Motility: Movement

The entire abstract of the study follows my comments, and it is not easily understood, but I include it for those who fully understand and require the language of scientease. I admit that I do not, but I can decipher enough to understand what the laboratory subjects experienced.

"Burn injury induces gelsolin expression and cleavage in the brain of mice."

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Gelsolin is an actin filament-severing and capping protein, affecting cellular motility, adhesiveness and apoptosis. Whether it is expressed in the brain of burned mice has not yet been characterized. Mice were subjected to a 15% total body surface area scald injury. Neuropathology was examined by hematoxylin and eosin staining. Cerebral gelsolin mRNA, distribution and cleavage were demonstrated by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (QPCR), immunohistochemistry and Western blot, respectively. Cysteinyl aspartate-specific protease (caspase)-3-positive cells and activity were also measured. Burn injury could induce pathological alterations in the brain including leukocyte infiltration, necrosis, microabscess and gliosis. Compared with sham-injured mice, gelsolin mRNA was up-regulated at 8h post-burn (pb) in a transient manner in the cortex and striatum of burned mice, while it remained at higher levels in the hippocampus up to 72hpb. Of interest, gelsolin was further cleaved into 42 and 48kDa (kilo Dalton) fragments as illustrated in the hippocampus at 24hpb, and was widely expressed in the brain by activated monocyte/macrophages, astrocytes and damaged neurons. In the meantime, caspase-3-positive cells were noted in the striatum of burned mice and its activity peaked at 24hpb. To clarify inflammation-induced gelsolin expression and cleavage in the brain, rat pheochromocytoma cells were exposed to lipopoly- saccharide to show increased gelsolin expression and caspase 3-dependent cleavage. The results suggest that burn-induced cerebral gelsolin expression would be involved in the activation of both the monocytes and astroglial cells, thereby playing a crucial role in the subsequent inflammation-induced neural apoptosis following burn injury. * * * * * * *

Just as "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet" as written by William Shakespeare in Romeo and Juliet, so too would torture and torment by any other names taste as offensively rancid. It pains me to see any living creature intentionally made to suffer at the hands of men.

Robert Cohen

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