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Anatomy and Physiology of the Integumentary System

Anatomy and Physiology of the Integumentary System

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Published by mao4evah
anatomy and physiology of the integumentary system
anatomy and physiology of the integumentary system

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Published by: mao4evah on Mar 17, 2010
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This most extensive organ system has the skin and accessory structures, including hair, nails,glands (sweat and sebaceous), and specialized nerve receptors for stimuli (changes in internal or external environment) such as touch, cold, heat, pain, and pressure. Its functions includeprotection of internal structures, prevention of entry of disease-causing microorganisms,temperature regulation, excretion through perspiration, pigmentary protection against ultravioletsunrays, and production of vitamin D. The body stores about half its fat in the underlyinghypodermis.
Skin: epidermal layers
The skin is the largest organ of the body,with a surface area of 18 square feet. Itstwo main layers are the epidermis (outer layer) and dermis (inner layer). Theepidermis has several strata (layers) thatcontain four cell types. Keratinocytesproduce keratin, a protein that gives skin itsstrength and flexibility and waterproofs theskin surface. Melanocytes produce melanin,the dark pigment that gives skin its color.Merkel's cells are probably involved withtouch reception. Langerhans' cells help theimmune system by processing antigens(foreign bodies).The deepest layer of the epidermis, the stratum basale, is a single layer of cells resting on abasement membrane (layer between the dermis and epidermis). The stratum basale cells dividecontinuously. As new cells form, older ones are pushed toward the skin surface.The epidermis does not have a direct blood supply; all nutrients that feed these cells come fromthe dermis. Only the deepest cells of the stratum basale receive nourishment. The cells that arepushed away from this layer die. When the cells reach the skin surface, they are sloughed off in aprocess called desquamation.The next layer, the stratum spinosum, consists of spiny prickle cells that interlock to support theskin. The stratum granulosum, the thin middle layer, initiates keratinization (production of keratin).This process starts the death of epithelial cells (the cell type that makes up skin).During desquamation, keratinocytes are pushed toward the surface. These cells begin to producethe keratin that eventually will dominate their contents. When these cells reach the epidermisouter layer, they are little more than keratin-filled sacs. Millions of these dead cells are worn off daily, creating a new epidermis every 35 to 45 days.The stratum lucidum protects against sun ultraviolet-ray damage. This thick layer appears only infrequently used areas such as palms of the hands and soles of the feet. Thick skin epidermis hasall five strata. Thin skin covers thinner epidermal areas such as eyelids. Thin skin has three or four of the five strata; it never has stratum lucidum.The stratum corneum, the fifth, outermost layer is thick with rows of dead cells. These cellscontain soft keratin, which keeps the skin elastic and protects underlying cells from drying out.
Skin: dermal layers
The dermis, called "true skin, " is the layer beneath the epidermis. Its major parts are collagen (aprotein that adds strength), reticular fibers (thin protein fibers that add support), and elastic fibers(a protein that adds flexibility). The dermis has two layers: the papillary layer, which has looseconnective tissue, and the reticular layer, which has dense connective tissue. These layers are soclosely associated that they are difficult to differentiate.The papillary layer lies directly beneath the epidermis and connects to it via papillae (finger-likeprojections). Some papillae contain capillaries that nourish the epidermis; others containMeissner's corpuscles, sensory touch receptors. A double row of papillae in finger pads producesthe ridged fingerprints on fingertips. Similar patterns in the ridged fingerprints on fingertips are onpalms of the hands and soles of the feet. Fingerprints and footprints keep skin from tearing andaid in gripping objects.The reticular layer of the dermis contains criss-crossing collagen fibers that form a strong elasticnetwork. This network forms a pattern called cleavage (Langer's) lines. Surgical incisions that aremade parallel to cleavage lines heal faster and with less scarring than those made perpendicular.Parallel incisions disrupt collagen fibers less and require less scar tissue (cells that aid in healing)to close up a wound.The reticular layer also contains Paciniancorpuscles, sensory receptors for deeppressure. This layer contains sweat glands,lymph vessels, smooth muscle, and hair follicles, described in the discussion on hair follicles later in this overview.The hypodermis (subcutaneous layer) liesbeneath the dermis. Loose connective tissuesuch as adipose tissue (fat) insulates thebody, conserving heat. It also contains bloodvessels, lymph vessels, and the bases of hair follicles and sweat glands. The fat distributionin this layer gives the female form itscharacteristic curves.
Sudoriferous (sweat) and sebaceous (oil) glands
Skin produces associated structures such as sudoriferous (sweat) glands and sebaceous (oil)glands. It also produces fingernails, hair, and sensory receptors that enable humans to feelpressure, temperature, and pain.Both groups of sudoriferous glands (sweat glands) are in most of the body: eccrine glands arecoiled ducts deep in the skin that connect to the surface; apocrine glands are in armpits, areolaeof nipples, and the genital region. Eccrine glands secrete sweat, a mixture of 99 percent water and 1 percent salts and fats. In warm conditions with low humidity, perspiration (secretion of sweat) and evaporation cool the body.
Apocrine glands, which become active at puberty, are larger, deeper, and produce thicker secretions than eccrine glands. The apocrine glands secretions contain pheromones, substancesthat enable olfactory (sense of smell) communication with other members of the species. Thiscommunication provokes certain behavioral responses such as sexual arousal. Unlike eccrineglands that respond to heat, apocrine glands respond to stress and sexual activity by secretingsweat with a characteristic odor. This odor differs from body odor that results from bacteriadecomposing skin secretions on the skin.Ceruminous glands are modified apocrine glands in the external ear canal lining. They secretecerumen (earwax), a sticky substance that is thought to repel foreign material.Mammary glands in female breasts aremodified apocrine glands. These glands areadapted to secrete milk instead of sweat.Sebaceous glands (oil glands) are all over the body except on the palms of hands andsoles of feet. The glands empty via ducts intothe bases of hair follicles and secrete sebum(a mixture of fats, waxes, and hydrocarbons).Sebum keeps hair moist and prevents skinfrom drying. Sebaceous glands arenumerous on the face and scalp. Duringpuberty, increased sex hormone levels in theblood may produce excessive sebum. Thisover secretion plugs the gland and hair follicle, producing a skin disorder calledacne.
Hair and nails
Hair is composed of cornified threads of cells that develop from the epidermis and cover most of the body. Each hair has a medulla, cortex, and cuticle. The medulla in the center contains softkeratin and air. The cortex, the innermost thickest layer, has the pigment that gives hair color. Thecuticle, the outermost layer, has cells that overlap like scales. Both the cuticle and cortex havehard keratin.The hair root in a hair follicle is embedded beneath the skin. The hair shaft protrudes from theskin. Hair sheds and is replaced constantly during growth and rest phases. Hair has a protectivefunction: eyebrows keep sweat from running into the eyes, nose and ear hairs filter dust from theair, and scalp hairs protect against abrasion and overexposure to sun rays.Hair follicles extend into the dermis; the deep ends expanded parts are called hair bulbs. A papilla(connective tissue protrusion that contains capillaries) protrudes into the hair bulb and providesnutrients for the growing hair. The hair follicle walls have an inner epithelial root sheath and anouter dermal root sheath. The epithelial root sheath has an inner and an outer layer that thins as itapproaches the hair bulb. It becomes the matrix, the actively growing part of the hair bulb thatproduces the hair.Arrector pili muscles are smooth muscle cells attached to hair follicles. When they contract, theypull the hair into an upright position, causing skin dimples (goose bumps). The nervous systemregulates these muscles; cold temperatures or fright can activate them.

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