View Full Version : Are boogers and scabs made of the same stuff?
12-03-2001, 08:56 AM
Are boogers and scabs made of the same stuff?
I mean biologically. My body secretes them both, they start gooey but can become quite hard over time, they have similar coloration, they share a similar texture (at certain stages), and they cover and protect sensitive areas otherwise open to the air (scab – wound, snot/booger – my sensitive, highly vascularized nasal passages).
What are scabs made out of? What are boogers made out of? Are they related?
12-03-2001, 09:01 AM
Scabs are essentially congealed blood, boogers (UK=Bogies) are congealed mucus (UK=Mucous).
The constituents for the mucus can all be found in blood (otherwise how would they get to the secretion site), but they aren't the same.
IANADoctor, but one will no doubt be along shortly.
12-03-2001, 12:02 PM
OOh Ooh! A chance to actually use material from two of my (former) classes, at once!
Mucous is composed mostly of mucins, inorganic salts and water, and function as a barrier against noxious sunstances, as well as for lubrication. Mucins are a family of large, heavily glycosylated proteins (meaning they have lots and lots of sugar groups attached). This dense sugar coating on the mucins gives them a very large water-holding capacity - once secreted. they absorb water very rapidly, and actually have something of a 500-fold increase in volume in under 20 milliseconds.
Scabs are the final product of the intrinsic and extrinsic pathways for the blood clotting mechanism. The pathways are a bit long to go into, but if you're that interested, you should be able to find it in any biochemistry text book, or even online. It's been well studied and is fairly well understood. Essentially, the scab itself is a cross-linked clot of fibrin. Fibrin is formed from fibrinogen, with thrombin as the enzyme that does the conversion. To get an idea of the pathway, thrombin comes from prothrombin, which is cleaved by Factors V and Xa. Factor Xa comes from FActor X, cleaved by Factor VIIIa in the intrinsic pathway, and a tissue factor (trauma) in the extrinsic pathway. It goes on for a few more steps before that :-)
So your initial clot is fibrin, which is kinda soft and gooshy, which is why it's called the soft clot. Then along comes Factor XIIIa, which is present in your blood, and it joins the pieces of fibrin together into the final hard clot.
Dried mucous is just that. Dried mucous.
So no, they are not the same thing. They are both proteins, but whereas one is synthesized more or less as is in the cell, and expands into soft mushiness once secreted (mucins), the other requires a whole chain of events for it to happen. As with any protein pathway, there are diseases related to them both. The most obvious example of a disease related to clot formation is hemophilia. Classic hemophelia, the type known to be in Queen Victoria's family line, is a defect in factor VIII, where it is either non-existant, or has reduced activity. I actually don't have a mucin-related disease offhand, but I'm sure there are some :)
Gee, and not even a doctor :)
12-03-2001, 12:17 PM
Plus they taste so different.
12-03-2001, 01:05 PM
They may be different, but they both are sure fun to pick.
12-04-2001, 04:24 PM
This thread included a discussion on what is mucous and how come we don't run out.
There are links to studies on hagfish, an eel-like fish that is known for producing buckets of snot-like slime when scared. It discusses a detailed study on the slime composition. Includes pictures.
vBulletin® v3.7.3, Copyright ©2000-2013, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.