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Calcite Microcrystals in the Pineal Gland of the Human Brain: First Physical and Chemical Studies

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A new form of biomineralization has been studied in the pineal gland of the human brain. It consists of small crystals that are less than 20 microm in length and that are completely distinct from the often observed mulberry-type hydroxyapatite concretions. A special procedure was developed for isolation of the crystals from the organic matter in the pineal gland. Cubic, hexagonal, and cylindrical morphologies have been identified using scanning electron microscopy. The crystal edges were sharp whereas their surfaces were very rough. Energy dispersive spectroscopy showed that the crystals contained only the elements calcium, carbon, and oxygen. Selected area electron diffraction and near infrared Raman spectroscopy established that the crystals were calcite. With the exception of the otoconia structure of the inner ear, this is the only known nonpathological occurrence of calcite in the human body. The calcite microcrystals are probably responsible for the previously observed second harmonic generation in pineal tissue sections. The complex texture structure of the microcrystals may lead to crystallographic symmetry breaking and possible piezoelectricity, as is the case with otoconia. It is believed that the presence of two different crystalline compounds in the pineal gland is biologically significant, suggesting two entirely different mechanisms of formation and biological functions. Studies directed toward the elucidation of the formation and functions, and possible nonthermal interaction with external electromagnetic fields are currently in progress.
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IEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation Vol.11, No. 2; April 2004 203
Calcite Microcrystals in the Pineal Gland of the Human
Brain: Second Harmonic Generators and Possible
Piezoelectric Transducers
S. Baconnier and S.B. Lang
Department of Chemical Engineering
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
84105 Beer Sheva, Israel
ABSTRACT
A new form of biomineralization in the pineal gland of the human brain has been
studied. It consists of small crystals that are less than 20
m in length and that
are completely distinct from the often-observed mulberry-type hydroxyapatite con-
cretions. Cubic, hexagonal and cylindrical morphologies have been identified using
scanning electron microscopy. Energy dispersive spectroscopy, selected-area elec-
tron diffraction and near infrared Raman spectroscopy established that the crys-
tals were calcite. Experiments at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility
()
ESRF to study the biomineralization showed the presence of sulfur originating
from both heteropolysaccharides and amino acids. Other studies at the ESRF fur-
nished information on the complex texture crystallization of the calcite. With the
exception of the otoconia structure of the inner ear, this is the only known non-
pathological occurrence of calcite in the human body. The calcite microcrystals are
believed to be responsible for the previously observed second harmonic generation
in pineal tissue sections. There is a strong possibility that the complex twinned
structure of the crystals may lower their symmetry and permit the existence of a
piezoelectric effect.
Index Terms Microcrystals, calcite, piezoelectricity, second harmonic gener-
ation, scanning electron microscopy, Raman spectroscopy, sulfur, crystal texture,
synchrotron.
1 INTRODUCTION
HE pineal gland is a neuroendocrine transducer
Tthat converts a neural signal into an endocrine output
wx
1 . It secretes a number of hormones, the most important
of which is melatonin which synchronizes the physiologi-
wx
cal Circadian rhythm 2 . Pineal calcifications have been
found in numerous animals and in humans and are the
wx
only crystalline forms known in the pineal gland 3 . Two
major forms of pineal crystalline structures have been ob-
Ž.
served: i polycrystalline complexes with dimensions of the
order of hundreds of micrometers, often called mulberry-
Ž.
like structures or concretions, and ii well-defined micro-
crystals having long dimensions as large as 20
m. Weak
Ž.
second harmonic generation SHG has been observed in
wx
pineal tissue samples 4 . Although the concretions have
been studied extensively, no experiments have been done
previously on the microcrystals. In this research, the mi-
Manuscript recei
®ed on 8 January 2003, in final form 21 May 2003.
crocrystals were studied by a large number of techniques:
Ž.
scanning electron microscopy SEM , energy dispersive
Ž.
spectroscopy EDS , high-resolution transmission electron
Ž.
microscopy HRTEM , selected area electron-diffraction
Ž.
SAED and near infrared Raman spectroscopy. Experi-
ments were made at the European Synchrotron Radiation
Ž.
Facility ESRF to study the roles of heteropolysaccha-
rides and amino acids in the formation of the microcrys-
tals and their structural texture.
2 CHARACTERIZATION OF THE
MICROCRYSTALS
A total of 20 human pineal glands from subjects ranging
in age from 15 to 68 years were supplied by the Institute
of Pathology of the Soroka Medical Centre in Beer Sheva,
Israel and by the Anatomopathology Service of the CHU
Michalon in Grenoble, France. The glands were fixed in
10% formalin. The microcrystals were isolated from the
pineal glands using a dilute sodium hypochlorite solution
wx
following a procedure developed by Weiner and Price 5 .
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Baconnier and Lang:Calcite Microcrystals in the Pineal Gland of the Human Brain: Second Harmonic Generators204
Figure 1. SEM photos of mulberry-like concretions in cryofractured
pineal tissue. a, small concretions with lobes; b, large conglomerate.
It should be emphasized that, at no point, did any of the
samples come into contact with solutions containing cal-
cium ions. Microcrystals were found in every gland in
quantities ranging from 100 to 300 crystalsrmm
3
of gland.
No attempt was made to correlate the quantity of crystals
with either the age of the subject or pathological details.
SEM samples were collected on transmission electron
microscopy grids and analyzed with a JEOL JSM 5600
SEM. Microanalysis studies were performed with a NO-
RAN EDS Analyzing System. As a reference, SEM pho-
tographs were taken of the mulberry-like concretions. Two
general sizes were observed as shown in Figure 1. Their
outer structure was similar to those observed by others
wx
6,7 . More relevant to the present project were the single
microcrystals. Three different shapes of crystals were ob-
served, cubic, hexagonal and cylindrical as shown in Fig-
ure 2. The length dimensions of the crystals varied from 2
to about 20
m. The most common morphology was a
cylindrical body with sharp extremities. These comprised
about 95% of the samples observed. Edges were usually
very sharp and the body surfaces were very rough. The
NORAN EDS Analyzing System coupled to the SEM was
used to determine the composition of the crystals. The
principal elements identified were calcium, carbon and
Figure 2. SEM of isolated pineal microcrystals on a Formvar-
covered TEM grid. Three different crystal shapes were observed. a,
cubic; b, hexagonal; c, cylindrical.
oxygen with less than 0.5 wt% each of silicon, aluminum,
sodium and magnesium. No phosphorus was found.
Among biominerals containing calcium, carbon and oxy-
Ž.
gen, only calcite calcium carbonate and calcium oxalate
are potential candidates
Because the microcrystals were too thick for HRTEM
observation, they were first crushed between two glass
slides. They were studied in a JEOL-2010 transmission
electron microscope equipped with an analytical ISIS sys-
Ž.
tem for energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy EDS . A
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IEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation Vol.11, No. 2; April 2004 205
Figure 3. Indexed SAED pattern from fragment of microcrystal.
Ž.
Figure 4. Raman spectra of pineal gland microcrystals A and pure
Ž.
calcite powder B .
typical diffraction pattern is shown in Figure 3. The elec-
tron diffraction patterns taken from these particles were
indexed in terms of a hexagonal unit cell with lattice pa-
rameters as4.989 nm, cs17.062 nm and
s120. The
dimensions are the same as those of calcite.
Near infrared Raman spectra of isolated crystals and of
pure calcite were obtained with a Bruker IFS 66 FTIR
spectrometer equipped with an FRA 106 Raman module
and a Ramanscope microscope. The spectral resolution
was 2 cm
y
1. The agreement of the peaks was excellent
Ž.
Figure 4 , confirming the identification of the crystals as
calcite. The additional peaks at 962 and 1283 cm
y
1may
have come from another chemical substance present in
the crystal, such as a protein.
wx
Lang et al. 4 have observed SHG in dried thin slices of
pineal gland. The observed SHG signal intensities were
about 10
y
3times that of a standard urea powder. In the
present study, SHG measurements were made to deter-
mine the origin of the previous observations. The only
crystalline materials in the pineal tissue were hydroxyap-
atite concretions and calcite microcrystals. Both hydroxya-
patite and calcite are centrosymmetric and would not be
expected to show SHG by the usual dipolar mechanism
wx
8 . However, calcite has been shown to exhibit second
harmonic generation, albeit far weaker than in SHG ac-
wx
tive non-centrosymmetric crystals 911 . The SHG in cal-
cite is quadrupolar in nature and phase-matchable, and is
preferentially along a specific crystal direction due to
birefringence. For a powdered sample of pure calcite, we
measured an SHG intensity that was 4 orders of magni-
tude weaker than a urea powder standard. We were un-
able to detect SHG in either pure hydroxyapatite powder
Ž
y
6.
-5=10 times that of urea nor in the large hydroxya-
patite pineal concretions. SHG could not be detected in a
small sample of isolated pineal microcrystals, due to the
small number of microcrystals in the sample and their lack
of proper orientation with respect to the incident laser
beam. However, the similarity of the intensity of the SHG
in pure calcite to that observed in earlier work on pineal
wx
tissue samples 4 and the absence of SHG in the large
concretions show that the calcite microcrystals were the
source of the SHG.
3 SULFUR IN THE CALCITE
MICROCRYSTALS
Preliminary experiments to determine the mechanism
of formation of the calcite microcrystals were carried out
Ž.
at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility ESRF
in Grenoble, France. Calcite biomineralization occurs in
an organic matrix in species such as corals, sea urchin spine
wx
and sponge spicules 12 . Sulfur can be found in amino
wx
acids and heteropolysaccharides 13 , two of the major
types of compounds found in organic matrices. Sulfur in
the amino acids, cysteine and methionine has a valence of
y2 in a disulfide-type bond. Among the heteropolysac-
charides are the glycosaminoglycans that contain sulfur in
a sulfate group as chondroitin sulfate. The objective of
our experiments was to locate and analyze the organic
matrix in the microcrystals. Soft x-ray synchrotron radia-
tion can be used to access the K-absorption edges of ele-
ments of major interest in the biological sciences, specifi-
cally sulfur in this case. The studies were carried out on
Ž.
the X-ray Microscopy Beamline ID21 . A schematic
drawing of ID21 is shown in Figure 5. The x-ray beam was
focused using Fresnel zone plates and raster-scanned over
the crystals with a 0.25=0.25
m
2
resolution. A Si-111
monochromator and a solid-state Ge energy-dispersive
detector were used to observe the fluorescence in the
range of energies from 2.450 keV to 2.530 keV. Because
the test specimen was sufficiently thin, a transmission sig-
nal could be measured by means of a silicon photodiode.
The fluorescence spectra of cysteine, methionine and
Ž.
chondroitin sulfate were first obtained Figure 6 . Peaks
at energies of about 2.472 and 2.473 keV were observed
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Baconnier and Lang:Calcite Microcrystals in the Pineal Gland of the Human Brain: Second Harmonic Generators206
Ž.
Figure 5. Layout of the X-ray Microscopy Beamline ID21 at ESRF
Ž.
Drawing courtesy of ESRF .
Figure 6. Fluorescence spectra of methionine, cysteine and chon-
droitine.
Figure 7. Fluorescence spectrum of the microcrystal from 2.45 keV
to 2.53 keV.
for the disulfide bonding in cysteine and methionine, re-
spectively, and a peak at about 2.482 keV was observed
for the sulfate bonding in chondroitine sulfate. Then cal-
cite crystals were deposited on a 4-
m thick plastic layer
Ž.
SpexCertiprepand glued to the sample holder. A
reticule made of a 25-
m tungsten wire was mounted be-
side the sample to enable the crystals to be located more
easily. The samples were mounted in the x-ray microscope
Ž.
sample holder and analyzed under high vacuum ;1Pa.
A typical fluorescence spectrum is shown in Figure 7. The
peak at 2.473 keV is characteristic of sulfur in amino acids
and that at 2.482 keV for sulfur in heteropolysaccharides.
Ž
Figure 8. Location of sulfur compounds. Fluorescence channel up-
.
per and lower left and transmission channel upper and lower right .
Ž.Ž .
Measurements at sulfate energy 2.482 keV upper left and right .
Ž.Ž .
Measurements at sulfide energy 2.473 keV lower left and right .
The fluorescence channel and the transmission channel
results for the two energies are shown in Figure 8. The
two sulfur compounds were present in the same regions of
the crystal but the signal from the amino acids was weaker.
The sodium hypochlorite solution used in the isolation of
the crystals oxidized most of the organic materials result-
ing in weak fluorescence from the residual sugars. A dif-
ferent crystal isolation technique will be used in future
studies.
4 TEXTURES OF THE
MICROCRYSTALS
The texture of the calcite crystals was studied at ESRF
Ž.
on the Microfocus Beamline ID13 . This facility provides
a monochromatic focal spot of about 20=20
m
2
by us-
ing a channel-cut Si-111 monochromator and an ellip-
soidal mirror. This beam is further reduced in size by glass
capillary optics to give a 2-
m beam at the exit. A CCD
detector is used. A schematic drawing of the beamline is
shown in Figure 9. The sample was mounted on a glass
fiber which was held by a goniometer head. The goniome-
ter head was placed on a translation stage that could be
raster scanned in 1-
m steps both horizontally and verti-
cally or rotated in 0.1steps about a vertical axis. A high-
magnification microscope could be moved on a microposi-
tioner in order to align the sample in front of the glass
capillary. The glass fiber, goniometer, microscope and the
glass capillary that focused the x-ray beam are shown in
the photograph in Figure 10.
A microcrystal was placed on the glass fiber and it ad-
hered due to a static electric charge. Diffraction patterns
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IEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation Vol.11, No. 2; April 2004 207
Ž. Ž
Figure 9. Layout of the Microfocus Beamline ID13 at ESRF Re-
wx.
produced with permission from 22 . The image of the crystals on a
glass fiber are shown on the monitor connected to the video micro-
scope. The diffraction pattern in Figure 11 is shown on the monitor
connected to the CCD detector.
Figure 10. Photograph showing the glass fiber, goniometer, micro-
scope and x-ray focusing glass capillary.
were obtained with a 1
m resolution in horizontal and
vertical scans and a rotational resolution of 0.1. A typical
diffraction pattern is shown in Figure 11. The upper re-
Ž.
flection and the lower-righthand reflection are 113 and
Ž.
024 , respectively. Only a few reflections appeared be-
cause of the narrow angle covered by the detector. Fig-
Ž. Ž . Ž.
ures 12 left and 12 right show the intensity of the 113
Ž.
and 024 reflections for a 15
m vertical scan and a rota-
tion of 3. The intensity of the reflections varied markedly
with very slight translation or rotation of the sample. If
the sample had been a uniform single crystal, all of the
reflections would have had the same intensity. The varia-
tion in intensities indicates that adjacent microregions of
the crystal are slightly out of crystallographic alignment
with one another. A complete mathematical analysis of
the data is presently in progress.
5 DISCUSSION
Most of the prior research concerned investigations of
the large mulberry-form concretions. Recently, two stud-
Ž. Ž.
Figure 11. Typical diffraction pattern showing 113 and 024 re-
flections.
Ž.Ž. Ž .
Figure 12. X-ray reflection intensities. left 113 reflection, right
Ž.
024 reflection. The horizontal direction represents translation in
steps of 1
m. The vertical direction represents rotations by 0.1.
ies described the presence of small geometric shapes asso-
wx
ciated with the concretion globules 14,15 , but detailed
investigations were not carried out. The technique devel-
oped here for isolation of the crystals gave us access to
large enough quantities for a study of this new mineral
structure which we have tentatively named ‘‘ myeloconia’’
Ž.
‘‘brain dust’’in Greek . In contrast to the concretions with
their globular and often conglomerate structure, the mi-
crocrystals have characteristic cubic, hexagonal or cylin-
drical crystalline morphologies. The concretions have sizes
as large as a few millimeters whereas the microcrystals are
not more than 20
m in length. The microcrystals have
the appearance of an agglomerate of small crystals but the
overall morphology shows that those structures are
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Baconnier and Lang:Calcite Microcrystals in the Pineal Gland of the Human Brain: Second Harmonic Generators208
Figure 13. SEM of isolated pineal microcrystal on a Formvar cov-
ered TEM grid showing the multilayer structure.
Ž.
monocrystalline ones Figure 13 . The microcrystals, which
have no phosphorus, do not have any relationship to the
wx
hydroxyapatite concretions 3 . The HRTEM and SEAD
coupled with the Raman spectroscopy clearly show that
the microcrystals are calcite and prove the presence of a
new form of biomineralization in the human brain. Or-
ganic material appears on the surface of the biomineral-
ized microcrystals as verified by additional non-calcite
lines in the Raman spectra and the sulfur studies at the
ESRF.
Reasons for the formation of the crystals and their pos-
sible biological significance are not known at present.
However, the microimaging data and SEM photographs
such as the multilayered structure in Figure 13 suggest a
growth mechanism for the crystals. The crystal appears to
have a texture consisting of a stack of thin rhombohe-
drons with their flat faces normal to the long axis of the
crystal. A sketch of this type of structure is shown in Fig-
ure 14. The sharp edges and rough body could be ex-
plained in this way. Mineralogical calcite frequently ex-
wx
hibits complex structures 16 . The texture observed in the
microcrystals could lead to symmetry breaking because of
structural andror stress gradients. This could result in the
existence of properties normally associated with noncen-
trosymmetric crystals such as SHG and piezoelectricity.
The microcrystals bear a striking resemblance to the
calcite crystals that form the otoconia of the inner ear.
Otoconia have been studied extensively in a number of
wx
species, including human beings 1719 . Their growth
stages pass through ovoid, rhombohedral and cylindrical
forms in a manner similar to those of the pineal micro-
crystals. The structure and chemical composition of the
microcrystals are also similar to those found in the
biomineralized crystals of sea urchin spines and sponge
wx
spicules 20 .
We believe that the presence of two different crys-
talline compounds in the same organ is biologically signifi-
cant. It is important to note that the calcite in otoconia
Figure 14. Schematic drawing showing a possible texture structure
of microcrystals.
wx
has been shown to exhibit piezoelectricity 21 , a property
normally forbidden by crystallographic symmetry. Our
current research is focused on direct measurements of
possible piezoelectricity in the pineal calcite crystals and a
consequent biological transducer mechanism.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
This work was partially supported through a Cooperant
´
Ž.
du Service National Grant SB and The Israel Science
Ž.Ž.
Foundation Grant No. 54r98 SBL . Special thanks are
extended to Drs. Garry Berkovic and Guilia Meshulam
for the SHG studies and to Prof. Bozena Hilczer and Dr.
Maria Polomska for the Raman spectroscopy. We thank
Drs. Jean Susini and Murielle Salome for their help and
good advice for the ID21 x-ray spectroscopy data collec-
tion and Drs. Manfred Burghammer and Christian Riekel
for their support and advice for the ID13 microdiffraction
experiments. Thanks are also due to Prof. Amalia Konsta
for suggesting an appropriate name for the microcrystals.
We are especially indebted to Prof. A. A. Marino for orig-
inally suggesting the research and for his contributions in
the earlier stages of the work.
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This paper is based on a presentation gi
®en at the IEEE International Sympo-
()
sium on Electrets ISE 11 , Melbourne, Australia, 1
4 October 2002.
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... Their composition is shown to be made up mostly of calcium, carbon, and oxygen. The crystals present either a cubical, cylindrical, or hexagonal shape in spectroscopic studies [12]. There are numerous theories regarding the mechanisms for pineal calcification formation, including the role of tryptase-containing mast cells, extrusion of polypeptides in the extracellular space with an active transfer of calcium, and the possibility of osteoblast-like transformation of local stem cells, known to cause germinal cell tumors within the pineal gland [13]. ...
... Our findings coincide with the globular and concentric lamellar shapes of the intraparenchymatous calcifications described by Koshy [7] and Baconnier et al. [12], as well as with the peak incidence of calcifications being situated in the middle-aged group, as stated by Tapp [8] and Whitehead et al. [15]. The lack of calcifications found in our study in the 0-25 age group differed from the findings of Doyle and Anderson's CT study [31], but both our studies support the lack of difference in the number of calcifications between males and females. ...
... The lack of calcifications found in our study in the 0-25 age group differed from the findings of Doyle and Anderson's CT study [31], but both our studies support the lack of difference in the number of calcifications between males and females. Extrapineal calcifications of the choroid plexus exhibited comparable frequencies in our study and in the one performed by Baconnier et al. [12]. ...
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Background and objectives: The pineal gland is a photoneuroendocrine organ in the midline of the brain, responsible primarily for melatonin synthesis. It is composed mainly of pinealocytes and glial tissue. This study examined human postmortem pineal glands to microscopically assess age-related changes using digital techniques, and offers a perspective on evolutionary tendencies compared to the past. Materials and Methods: A retrospective autopsy study has been performed on 72 pediatric and adult autopsy cases. The glands have been processed for histological analysis and immunohistochemical staining with glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP). Slides were assessed under polarized light and digitally scanned. Morphometric data were obtained using CaseViewer and ImageJ. Results: Thirty-three females and 39 males were included in the study, grouped under three age groups: 0–25, 46–65, and 66–96 years of age. The peak gland volume was found within the 46–65 age group, the overall mean volume was 519 mm3, the main architectural types were lobular and insular, and the mean percentage of pineal calcification was 15% of the gland, peaking within the 66–96 age group, with a predominantly globular shape. Glial cysts were found in 20.8% of cases. The intensity of GFAP stain was maximal in the pediatric age group, but the extent of glial tissue was much larger in elderly patients. Discussion: The degenerative process of the pineal gland can be quantified by measuring normal parenchyma, calcifications, glial tissue, and glial cysts. Morphometric differences have been observed and compared to a similar studies performed in the published literature. The current study, unfortunately, lacks a 26–45 age group. Digital techniques seemed to offer a more exact analysis, but returned similar results to studies performed over 40 years ago, therefore offering important information on evolutionary tendencies. Conclusions: Increase in glial tissue, calcifications, and glial cysts have a defining role as age-related changes in the pineal gland.
... The concentric laminated pineal calcification is not a random process, but a complex, well-structured and programmed mechanism: the number of lamellae is directly proportional to human age [174,199] and the laminated pineal concretions are structurally similar to the osteons of the compact bone [174]. Two main types of pineal intraparenchymal calcifications are observed, in young and old people, with different shapes and size of calcifications; in young people, the calcifications are globular, lobulated, and localized in the proximity of the pinealocytes, while in elderly patients, calcifications are larger, lamellar, concentric, associated with glial cells [197,[200][201][202][203]. Kim et al., studying the pineal gland of older adults (62-80 years), found conglomerate areas, calcified in a concentrical manner, distributed over the entire parenchyma, but preponderantly with a central concentration [204] (they may be related to the circannual changes in Ca level) [199]. ...
... In the pineal gland are significantly present two different crystalline compounds; this fact suggests two different biologically mechanisms of formation and biological functions [201]. There are small, well-defined crystals, that have less than 20 μm in length (microcrystals) [205] and large polycrystalline complexes, of hundreds of micrometers in length (often called "mulberry-like" structures) [201]. ...
... In the pineal gland are significantly present two different crystalline compounds; this fact suggests two different biologically mechanisms of formation and biological functions [201]. There are small, well-defined crystals, that have less than 20 μm in length (microcrystals) [205] and large polycrystalline complexes, of hundreds of micrometers in length (often called "mulberry-like" structures) [201]. Electron microscopy studies detailed three types of the small crystals: cubical, cylindrical (95%) and hexagonal [201,202]. ...
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This article is a review of new advances in histology, concerning either classification or structure of different tissular elements (basement membrane, hemidesmosomes, urothelium, glandular epithelia, adipose tissue, astrocytes), and various organs' constituents (blood-brain barrier, human dental cementum, tubarial salivary glands, hepatic stellate cells, pineal gland, fibroblasts of renal interstitium, Leydig testicular cells, ovarian hilar cells), as well as novel biotechnological techniques (tissue engineering in angiogenesis), recently introduced.
... Chemical analysis of calcified cones of the pineal gland shows that they consist of compounds of calcium phosphate: hydroxyapatite, β-TCMF (beta-tricalcium-magnesium phosphate) [17]. There is also evidence of calcite in the "brain sand" [18]. ...
... The mechanisms of formation and function of "brain sand" are unknown. Some studies indicate that Alzheimer's patients have a significantly higher level of epiphysis calcification than other types of dementia [18]. It has also been found that with age, the pineal gland contains the same amount of fluoride as the teeth. ...
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The monograph presents the results of the study of pathological soft tissue biomineralization in atherosclerosis, dystrophy, inflammation, benign and malignant tumor growth on the example of atherosclerosis of the aorta and aortic valves, papillary and follicular thyroid cancer, benign prostatic hyperplasia, diseases of the gallbladder, pancreas, salivary and breast glands, eyes. The publication is intended for researchers of medical, biological and natural sciences, biophysics specialists, pathologists, oncologists, radiologists, surgeons, as well as for clinical residents, interns and senior students of medical universities.
... It is a small cone-shaped gland at the back of our brain, located exactly at the top of the spinal cord, which in Hindu traditions is called the extra-sensory third 'eye' through which perception of the world is not limited to the physical senses. According to Lang et al. (2002), every emotion you feel, every moment of joy and fear, produces a chemical enzyme in your body. Each enzyme passes through the pineal. ...
... The fluid inside the pineal gland contains two different types of microcrystals (Baconnier et al. 2002), one of which expands and contracts in response to sounds or electromagnetic fields, producing an electrical charge through the piezoelectric effect. This type of crystal action is used in modern technology to tune into different radio stations. ...
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We humans are magnificent beyond our understanding. It is our birthright, our gift, and our responsibility to grow and blossom into ever-fuller expression of our magnificence. Intuition loves to help us along the way. Einstein famously said the most important question we have to answer for ourselves is whether or not we live in a friendly universe. When we open our hearts to the voice of intuition, we come to the realization that the universe supports our growth and courageous expression in every moment. We begin to welcome the creative connection between all things, inner and outer, and learn to trust ourselves and the healing wisdom that comes from within. It is my great honor to write this Foreword to Maura Torkildson's book. She has created a masterful guide to developing our intuitive abilities. Building a relationship with our inner source of knowing is one of the most important and rewarding tasks we can undertake. By connecting with our intuition, we can experience a sense of safety and comfort in everyday life, we can discover an immediately responsive source of useful information that helps us make better decisions, and we can uncover a profound source of connection with the divine, the all-that-is which underlies and gives meaning to our lives. In this Foreword we will first consider some of the defining characteristics of intuition, and show some of the ways I've experienced these characteristics by sharing stories of how intuition has played a pivotal role in my life. Then we will look at some of the scientific evidence supporting Maura Torkildson's groundbreaking new model for how to develop your own intuitive abilities.
... Moreover, PG ageing has been considered responsible for promoting ageing of the body [29]. According to this assumption studies suggested that alterations of pineal metabolism, deteriorations of the circadian system and calcifications that are found in several species contribute to functional losses of the PG, phenomena that aggravate with ageing and are also associated with human pathologies [171,172]. While the focus will here be put on the structural changes in the PG, especially calcification, it should be also noted that decreases in the circadian input from the SCN, either by neurodegeneration in the master clock or by impairments in the neuronal pathway toward the PG, have been discussed as alternate or additional causes of pineal malfunction [173]. ...
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For years the thymus gland (TG) and the pineal gland (PG) have been subject of increasingly in-depth studies, but only recently a link that can associate the activities of the two organs has been identified. Considering, on the one hand, the well-known immune activity of thymus and, on the other, the increasingly emerging immunological roles of circadian oscillators and the rhythmically secreted main pineal product, melatonin, many studies aimed to analyse the possible existence of an interaction between these two systems. Moreover, data confirmed that the immune system is functionally associated with the nervous and endocrine systems determining an integrated dynamic network. In addition, recent researches showed a similar, characteristic involution process both in TG and PG. Since the second half of the 20th century, evidence led to the definition of an effectively interacting thymus-pineal axis (TG-PG axis), but much has to be done. In this sense, the aim of this review is to summarize what is actually known about this topic, focusing on the impact of the TG-PG axis on human life and ageing. We would like to give more emphasis to the implications of this dynamical interaction in a possible therapeutic strategy for human health. Moreover, we focused on all the products of TG and PG in order to collect what is known about the role of peptides other than melatonin. The results available today are often unclear and not linear. These peptides have not been well studied and defined over the years. In this review we hope to awake the interest of the scientific community in them and in their future pharmacological applications.
... (1) and even the human body 154,155 and precipitates as abiogenic and biogenic minerals. In contaminated soils and sediments, bioavailable carbonate-bounded HMs mainly coprecipitate with calcite 156,157 . ...
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Due to the high capacity of impurities in its structure, calcite is regarded as one of the most attractive minerals to trap heavy metals (HMs) and radionuclides via substitution during coprecipitation/crystal growth. As a high-reactivity mineral, calcite may release HMs via dissolution. However, the influence of the incorporated HMs and radionuclides in calcite on its dissolution is unclear. Herein, we reported the dissolution behavior of the synthesized calcite incorporated with cadmium (Cd), cobalt (Co), nickel (Ni), zinc (Zn), and uranium (U). Our findings indicated that the HMs and U in calcite could significantly change the dissolution process of calcite. The results demonstrated that the incorporated HMs and U had both inhibiting and enhancing effects on the solubility of calcite, depending on the type of metals and their content. Furthermore, secondary minerals such as smithsonite (ZnCO3), Co-poor aragonite, and U-rich calcite precipitated during dissolution. Thus, the incorporation of metals into calcite can control the behavior of HMs/uranium, calcite, and even carbon dioxide.
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Background: The formation of concrements in human pineal gland (PG) is a physiological process and, according to many researchers, is associated with the involution of PG structures. The majority of scientific publications concern progressive calcification of pineal gland (PG), leaving out studies on the destruction of already formed calcified concrements. Our study fills the gap in knowledge about calcified zones destruction in PG in normal agind and neuropathological conditions, that hasn't been addressed until now. Purpose: Our objective is to gain insight into human pineal gland (PG) tissue impairment in both normal aging and neurodegenerative conditions. X-ray phase contrast tomography (XPCT) allowed us to study PG tissue degeneration at high spatial resolution and, for the first time, to examine the damaged PG concrements in detail. Our research finding could potentially enhance understanding of the PG involvement in the process of aging as well as in Alzheimer's disease (AD) and vascular dementia (VD). Methods: The research was carried out on human PG autopsy material in normal aging, VD and AD conditions. Laboratory-based micro- computed tomography (micro-CT) was used to collect and evaluate samples of native, uncut, unstained PG with different degrees of pineal calcification. The detailed high-resolution 3D images of the selected PGs were produced using synchrotron-based X-ray phase contrast tomography (XPCT). Histology and immunohistochemistry of soft PG tissue confirmed XPCT results. Results: We performed via micro-CT the evaluation of the morphometric parameters of PG such as total sample volume, calcified concrements volume, and percentage of concrements in the total volume of the sample. XPCT imaging revealed high-resolution details of age-related PG alteration. In particular, we noted signs of moderate degradation of concrements in some PGs from elderly donors. In addition, our analysis revealed noticeable degenerative change in both concrements and soft tissue of PGs with neuropathology. In particular, we observed a hollow core and separated layers as well as deep ragged cracks in PG concrements of AD and VD samples. In parenchyma of some samples we detected wide pinealocyte-free fluid-filled areas adjacent to the calcified zones. Conclusion: The present work provides the basis for future scientific research focused on the dynamic nature of PG calcium deposits and PG soft tissue in normal aging and neurodegenerative diseases. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
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Introduction Environmental microparticle is becoming a global pollutant and the entire population is increasingly exposed to the microparticles from artificial materials. The accumulation of microparticles including microplastics and its subsequent effects need to be investigated timely to keep sustainable development of human society. Objectives This study aimed to explore the accumulation of environmental particles in thrombus, the pathological structure in the blood circulation system. Methods Patients receiving cardiovascular surgical operations were screened and twenty-six thrombi were collected, digested and filtered. Non-soluble microparticles were enriched on the filter membrane and then were analyzed and identified with Raman Spectrometer. The associations of particle status (presence or absence) or particle number in the thrombus and clinical indicators were examined. One strict quality control-particle detection system was designed to eliminate environmental contaminations. Results Among twenty-six thrombi, sixteen contained eighty-seven identified particles ranging from 2.1 to 26.0 μm in size. The number of microparticles in each thrombus ranged from one to fifteen with the median reaching five. All the particles found in thrombi were irregularly block-shaped. Totally, twenty-one phthalocyanine particles, one Hostasol-Green particle, and one low-density polyethylene microplastic, which were from synthetic materials, were identified in thrombi. The rest microparticles included iron compounds and metallic oxides. After the adjustment for potential confounders, a significantly positive association between microparticle number and blood platelet levels (P < 0.01) was detected. Conclusion This study provides the first photograph and Raman spectrum evidence of microparticles in thrombi. A large number of non-soluble particles including synthetic material microparticles could accumulate in arteries, suggesting that the risk of microparticle exposure was under-estimated and the re-evaluation of its health effects is urgently needed. There will be a series of reports on assessing the health effects of microparticle exposure in humans in the future and this research provided clues for the subsequent research.
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Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity is categorised as a multisymptomatic 'el-allergy' in the Nordic classification of 2000 (R.68.8). Its symptoms are 'certainly real' and it can be a 'disabling condition' (W.H.O., 2005). It was first recorded in the mid 20th century as an occupational illness, but it has now spread into the general population through environmental exposure from increasing levels of electromagnetic fields and radiation. This Summary covers current research on this syndrome, covering EM Sensitivity and EM Hypersensitivity. It includes tables of symptoms, EMF sources and exposure guidelines, along with references to scientific studies. This New Edition adds updates, international doctors' protocols, aspects of quantum biology, evidence for sensitivity in animals and plants, case studies, disability issues and human rights.
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Melatonin secretion by the pineal gland has been reported to be affected by exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMFs). In an initial investigation to determine if calcifications commonly found in the pineal gland could respond to EMFs by a transducer mechanism, studies were conducted to ascertain if pineal tissues were piezoelectric. Second harmonic generation (SHG) measurements showed that pineal tissues contained noncentrosymmetric crystals, thus proving the presence of piezoelectricity. Both mulberry-like and faceted crystalline calcifications were observed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Some of the calcifications had compositions similar to that of hydroxyapatite; others contained a high concentration of aluminum.
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A decrease in melatonin secretion has been observed in small mammals under exposure to extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields. As there is some concern about possible health effects of the increasing use of radiocellular telephones emitting radiofrequency electromagnetic fields, we examined whether such fields would alter melatonin levels in the human. Volunteers were two groups totalling 38 men, 20-32 yr old. Exposures were to commercially available cellular telephones of the GSM 900 type (Global System for Mobile communication at 900 MHz) or DCS 1800 type (Digital Communication System at 1800 MHz), for 2 hr/day, 5 days/wk, for 4 wk, at their maximum power. Attention of the volunteers was sustained by TV projection of movies. Blood samples were collected hourly during the night and every 3 hr in the daytime. Four sampling sessions were performed at 15-day intervals: before the beginning of the exposure period, at the middle and the end of the exposure period, and 15 days later to evaluate the persistence or late appearance of potential effects. Evaluated parameters were the maximum serum concentration, the time of this maximum, and the area under the curve of the hormone profile. Melatonin circadian profile was not disrupted in 37 young male volunteers submitted to a typical pattern of exposure to the electromagnetic fields generated by two common types of cell phones.
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Optimally focused cw gas-laser beams were used to make an accurate absolute measurement of optical second-harmonic generation (SHG) in ammonium dihydrogen phosphate (ADP) and accurate relative measurements of the higher order quadrupole-type SHG and electric-field-induced SHG in calcite. The result of the first set of experiments was d36(ADP)=1.38×10-9 esu±16%, in excellent agreement with the value determined by Francois using unfocused beams. This agreement demonstrates that focused laser beams can be used to make accurate measurements of crystal nonlinearities, and it provides further evidence that the value of d36 in potassium dihydrogen phosphate (KDP), normally taken as the standard nonlinearity, is considerably smaller than the value usually quoted. The nonlinearity describing quadrupole-type SHG in calcite was found to be 2.8×10-4d36(ADP)±14%, and that for electric-field-induced SHG was 2.1×10-5d36(ADP)±24%. The second-harmonic power from calcite could not have been measured without the enhancements available from focusing. A displacement of the parabolic curve of second-harmonic power as a function of the applied electric field was noted, and it was shown that this shift was not caused by inhomogeneous applied electric fields. The very small induced birefringence in calcite which depends quadratically upon the applied electric field was also measured.
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DOI:https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.8.404
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The otoconium genesis was evaluated by morphometric procedures using transmission and scanning electron-microscopic techniques for human fetuses of 50, 110, 134, 173, 210, 220 and 232 mm crown-rump length. Different otoconial crystalline habits were found. For the elongated otoconia (hexagonal prism) different parameters were measured: (1) the mean cleavage angle value of the terminal rhombohedron was 102 (SD 0.65), which was independent of the fetal age; (2) large and short axes show a linear growing law in function of the fetal age, and (3) the otoconial volume grows following a quadratic law. A hypothesis about the physicochemical growth conditions is postulated.
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The ability of organisms to exercise control over crystal growth is wonderfully exemplified by skeleton formation in echinoderms. A sea urchin spine is a unique composite of a single crystal of calcite and glycoproteins intercalated inside the crystal during its growth. Here we performed a detailed morphological and high-resolution synchrotron X-ray diffraction study of the textures of synthetic and biogenic calcite crystals. We show that the intracrystalline macromolecules from sea urchin spines, when allowed to interact with growing calcite crystals in vitro, selectively reduce the coherence lengths and degrees of alignment of the perfect domains in specific crystallographic directions. These directions also correspond to the newly-developed stable faces. In contrast, the defect distribution of young sea urchin spines composed entirely of spongy stereomic structure is much more isotropic. In mature spines containing secondarily filled-in wedges of calcite, the degree of anisotropy is intermediate between that of the synthetic crystals and the young spines. The macromolecules extracted from young and mature spines are, however, very similar. These observations demonstrate the inherent capability of occluded matrix macromolecules to finely differentiate between crystal planes by stereochemical recognition processes. They also show that in biologically-produced calcite crystals this process can be overridden to produce a more isotropic material.
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It is known that the endocrine system of experimental animals is susceptible to perturbation by radiofrequency (RF) radiation. Because of the recent interest in health and safety issues of cellular telephones, an experiment was designed to evaluate the effect of a 900 MHz RF radiation emitted by a Global System for Mobile radiotelephone (217 Hz impulses, one-eighth duty cycle, 2 W peak power) on human endocrine functions. Twenty healthy male volunteers aged from 19 to 40 were inducted in the present experiment. Each subject was exposed to RF radiation through the use of a cellular phone 2 h/day, 5 days/wk, for 1 month. Subjects were their own control. End points were serum adrenocorticotropin, thyrotropin, growth hormone, prolactin, luteinizing hormone, and follicle stimulating hormone concentrations. These end points were determined in nine weekly blood samples obtained starting 3 weeks before the commencement of the exposure and ending 2 weeks after exposures. All but one blood sample was drawn 48 h after each weekly session. The seventh drawing was performed the morning after the last weekly exposure. Within each individual, the preexposure hormone concentration was used as a control. Results indicated that all hormone concentrations remained within normal physiologic ranges. A difference was not noted among the nine weekly samples in five of six hormones studied. There was a significant change only in thyrotropin concentration, showing a 21% decrease on the seventh sampling. Because this change recovered fully during the postexposure period, it is concluded that 1 month of intermittent exposures to RF radiation from a cellular telephone does not induce a long-lasting or cumulative effect on the hormone secretion rate of the anterior pituitary gland in humans. Bioelectromagnetics 19:271–278, 1998. © 1998 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
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The origin of spurious and irreproducible signals in the measurement of the hyper‐Rayleigh scattering (HRS) of solutions is investigated. A new cell design, coupled with continuous solution filtration through a 20 nm filter, is shown to improve the reproducibility of the measurement to ±5%. A transverse cell dimension of ∼2 mm reduces absorption of the second harmonic. A simple monochromaticity test is used to identify luminescence, and we recommend that it is made routinely. Scattering from the [Ru(bipy) 3 ]<sup>2+</sup> cation, attributed to HRS by Zyss et al. [Chem. Phys. Lett. 206, 409 (1993)], appears to be largely due to two‐photon excited luminescence. The reliability of calibration procedures is examined, and some revised hyperpolarizabilities are reported. © 1996 American Institute of Physics.