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B11 Homeostasis

Homeostasis is the maintenance of a constant internal environment, i.e. the temperature, water and glucose concentrationetc, as cells function more ideally under particular conditions- human cells work best at around 37C. Homeostasis is controlled by feedback mechanisms, consisting of three parts. A sense organ detects a change somewhere in the bodys internal environment, and then sends information about the change to a control centre. The control centre sends messages to a responding organ, which does whatever is necessary to bring the internal environment back to normal. The body does this because cells function more efficiently under particular conditions, thus the body constantly attempts to maintain this internal environment.

The skin maintains a constant internal temperature of the body within 1C either side of 37C, it manages to regulate this by doing various things. This is vital as certain things are not functional given a variant temperature such as enzymes which will either become inactive when too cold, or denature when too hot. The sense and responding organs of temperature is the skin and the thermoregulatory center within the brain acts as the control center, offering feedback to the organs. When youre too hot: Sweat glands produce sweat which cools the body down when it evaporates, since it takes away heat from the body. Vasodilatation occurs, so the blood vessels (Arterioles) below the skin expand. Therefore a lot of blood flows near the surface of the body and loss of heat occurs like a radiator. Hair lies flat in order to allow more heat to radiate out which increases the rate of heat loss. When youre too cold: Vasoconstriction occurs, so blood vessels contract. Therefore less blood flows near the surface and less heat is radiated. Muscles respire in order to produce more heat by involuntary contractions (shivering). Hair stands up in order to trap layers of air for insulation which slows down the rate of heat loss.

Glucose Regulation
The liver and pancreas work together to control the concentration of glucose present in the blood and tissue fluid. Body cells require glucose for the process of respiration in order to make energy. They need it in controlled amounts. A group of animals which can regulate their glucose are the mammals; however problems with glucose regulation can lead to diabetes. When the glucose level falls below normal, glands in the pancreas produce the hormone glucagon which makes the liver release glucose into the blood, converting glycogen which was stored in the liver this often occurs as a result of exercise. If there is too much glucose in the blood, these glands release the hormone insulin which makes the liver remove glucose from the blood this often occurs after consumption of food - and store it as glycogen in the liver. High glucose levels may damage the eyes, kidneys, nervesetc.

Water Concentration and Excretion

The kidneys keep blood and tissue fluid clean by removing urea - a nitrogenous waste product formed in the liver from excess proteins, excess water and other wastes by excreting them. When dirty blood enters the kidney through the renal artery it gathers at the glomerulus, the blood is then filtered by the glomerulus and nearly all the blood except red blood cells filters through into the nephron. Shortly after, all the useful substances the body needs pass back into the blood in the renal vein, through a process called selective reabsoption. The liquid left is known as urine, consisting of urea, water, and other unwanted substances and travels through the ureter to be stored in the bladder and eventually passed through the body through the urethra. The kidneys also regulate the water concentration within the blood steam. When theres a high water content in the blood. This is detected by the sense organs and the kidneys respond by increasing the amount of water in urine this increases the volume and lowering concentration of the urine. The opposite happens if the water content is too low.