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This assignment attempts to explore the nature of skin and membrane function of connective tissue in human physiological body. I have separated this assignment into few sub topics. The first sub topic will be exploring the nature of skin and membrane function of connective tissue. By comprehending the nature of skin and membrane function of connective tissue, it will give an initial idea of the topic discussed in the paper. By knowing the function, it will enable me to understand its importance. The clear illustration of skin and plasma membrane will enable us to understand the internal process taken place in human body. At the end of this paper, I will make my concluding remark based on my understanding after going through some readings. Some important references will be given at the end of this paper. This topic is indeed required lots of reading particularly from those medical, biological and anatomy literatures. Perhaps, it is a good opportunity for the writer to understand the system of human body as it is a continuous process that only ended when human is dead. Truly, I have no clear idea on how to expand the flow of this assignment. However, with the help from her course instructor, she will able to understand and finally write this assignment. I have also engaged in reviewing the few books mainly in the fields of biology and physiology in order to understand the topic that assigned by my course instructor. In the context of sports science, by knowing the skin and membrane function of connective tissue, it will enhance the my understanding and perhaps the knowledge that I learn could be applied in the near future not only for the sports science but also for my daily activities.

Understanding skin and membrane function of connective issue Initial insight

Biology of human skin and membrane function

Illustration 1: Human Skins Cross Section

According to Krause (2005), skin is said as a dynamic organ in a constant state of change, as cells of the outer layers are continuously shed and replaced by inner cells moving up to the surface. Thus, it is not an exaggeration to note that the skin is the largest organ of human body. It is consisted up to 16% of bodyweight, with a surface area of 1.8m2. It has several functions to perform. The most essential being to form a physical barrier to the environment, allowing and limiting the inward and outward passage of water, electrolytes and various substances while providing protection against micro-organisms, ultraviolet radiation, toxic agents and mechanical insults (Treuting & Dintzis, 2012). Based on illustration 1, there are three structural layers to the biological structure of human skin: the epidermis, the dermis and subcutis. Hair, nails, sebaceous, sweat and apocrine glands are regarded as derivatives of skin. Although structurally consistent throughout the body, skin varies in thickness according

to anatomical site and age of the individual (Krause, 2005). In terms of their outlook, the epidermis is simply the outer layer. It serves as the physical and chemical barrier between the interior body and exterior environment. The dermis, however, is the deeper layer providing the structural support of the skin, below which is a loose connective tissue layer. Finally, the subcutis or hypodermis could be seen as an important depot of fat in human body. The plasma membrane separates the internal environment of the cell from the external environment. It regulates the entrance and exit of molecules into and out of the cell. In this way, it helps the cell and the organism maintain a steady internal environment. The plasma membrane is a phospholipid bilayer in which protein molecules are either partially or wholly embedded (Mescher, 2010). The phospholipid bilayer has a fluid consistency, comparable to that of light oil. The proteins are scattered either just outside or within the membrane. Therefore, they form a mosaic pattern (Treuting & Dintzis, 2012). This description of the plasma membrane is called the fluid-mosaic model of membrane structure.

Illustration 4: The cross path of the plasma membrane

Plasma membrane transport system Indeed, the plasma membrane inhibits the route of all but a few substances (see illustration 2). However, biologically useful molecules are able to enter and exit the cell at a rapid rate. It is due to the presence of carrier proteins in the membrane. Carrier proteins are specific. Each can combine with only a certain type of molecule or ion, which is then transported through the membrane. In ordinary case, according to Treuting & Dintzis (2012), carrier proteins are required for both facilitated transport and active transports, as indicated in illustration 3.

Illustration 3: Model of plasma membrane function

Facilitated transport In regard to the first type of transport, facilitated transport discerns the route of such molecules as glucose and amino acids across the plasma membrane. The route of glucose and amino acids is facilitated or assisted by their reversible combination with carrier proteins.

These carrier proteins are specific. For instance, various sugar molecules of identical size might be present inside or outside the cell. However, glucose can cross the membrane hundreds of times faster than the other sugars. The crystal clear example of facilitated transport is indicated in illustration 4. The illustration shows that after a carrier has assisted the movement of a molecule to the other side of the membrane, it is free to assist the passage of other similar molecules. It is due to the fact that the molecules are moving down their concentration gradient in the same direction they tend to move anyway.

Illustration 4: Facilitated transport

Active Transport In the case of active transport, molecules or ions move through the plasma membrane and accumulate either inside or outside the cell. For instance, Treuting and Dintzis (2012) noted that iodine collects in the cells of the thyroid gland; glucose is completely absorbed from the gut by the cells lining the digestive tract; and sodium can be almost completely withdrawn from urine by cells lining the kidney tubules (p.75). In these instances, molecules have moved to the region of higher concentration, exactly opposite to the process of diffusion. Both carrier proteins and an expenditure of energy are needed to transport molecules against their concentration gradient. In this case, chemical energy is required for the carrier to combine with the substance to be transported.

Correspondingly, it is not surprising that cells involved primarily in active transport, such as kidney cells. The proteins involved in active transport are known as pumps. It is due to the fact that it just similar to water pumps that use energy to move water against the force of gravity. It is also found that proteins use energy to move a substance against its concentration gradient. One type of pump that is active in all animal cells, but is especially associated with nerve and muscle cells, moves sodium ions (Na+) to the outside of the cell and potassium ions (K+) to the inside of the cell.

The type of tissue and tissue repair processes

A typology of human tissue

According to histologist, the human body is indeed composed of four basic types of tissues. They are; epithelium, connective, muscular, and nervous tissues (Krause, 2005). These tissues vary in their composition and their function. A basic understanding of the role of each tissue makes understanding the specific functions easier. First and foremost, the epithelium tissue forms the coverings of surfaces of the body. Thus, it serves many purposes. The functions include protection, adsorption, excretion, secretion, filtration, and sensory reception. Secondly, the connective tissue is the most copious and widely distributed tissue type found in the human body. The role of connective tissue is to protect, support, and bind together parts of the body. Thirdly, the muscular tissue is associated and triggered human kinetic movement. This type of tissue has also responsible for mechanical digestion. Finally, the nervous tissue is responsible particularly in receiving stimuli and conduct impulses. This nervous system can be found in brain, spinal cord and nerves.

Tissue repair The four basic phases According to Mescher (2010), the process of tissue repair could be divided into four phases namely; bleeding, inflammation, proliferation and remodelling. The bleeding phase is relatively a quick one. It occurs as a result of injury, trauma and other similar force to the human skin. Clearly, there will have been some bleeding. The normal time for bleeding to stop is varying, depending on the type of injury. In the inflammation phase, it should be noted that this phase is an important component of the tissue repair process. There are numerous other initiators of the inflammatory process such as repetitive minor trauma or mechanical irritation. Indeed, the inflammatory phase has a rapid onset and swiftly increases in magnitude to its maximal reaction (1-3 days) before gradually resolving. During the proliferation phase, it involves the generation of the repair material, which for the majority of musculoskeletal injuries, involves the production of scar (collagen) material (Treuting & Dintzis, 2012). The proliferative phase has a rapid onset (24-48 hours) but takes considerably longer to reach its peak reactivity, which is usually between 2-3 weeks post injury (the more vascular the tissue, the shorter the time taken to reach peak proliferative production). This peak in activity does not represent the time at which scar production (repair) is complete, but the time phase during which the bulk of the scar material is formed (Ross & Pauline, 2011). The production of a final product (a high quality and functional scar) is not achieved until later in the overall repair process. The final phase is known as remodelling phase. The remodelling phase has always been interpreted as a phase of repair in terms of its importance, especially in the context of therapy and rehabilitation. In this phase, it is neither swift nor highly reactive, but does result in an organised, quality and functional scar which is capable of behaving in a similar way to the parent tissue (that which it is repairing).


In a nutshell, it is essential to know the skin and membrane functions as it is related to human living. The human skin therefore is divided into three important layers namely the epidermis, the dermis and subcutis. Each serves its own functions. Through this writing effort, I have the opportunity to understand the transport systems that carry human proteins. Both facilitated and active transports have their own role for the wellness of inner and outer human body. Additionally, it is interesting to find out the type of human tissue which is importance to human existence. The four types of human tissues namely; epithelium, connective, muscular, and nervous tissues and they have their own purpose of creation. Finally, this paper has made me aware of skin repair processes as they involve; bleeding, inflammation, proliferation and remodelling phases.


Krause, J. (2005). Krauses essential human histology for medical students (3rd ed.). University of Missouri: Columbia Mescher, L. (2010). Junqueiras basic histology-text and atlas (12th ed.). McGraw Hill: New York Ross, H. & Pauline, W. (2011). Histology-a text and atlas (6th ed.). McMillan Press: United State of America Treuting, M. & Dintzis, M. (2012). Comparative anatomy and histology-a mouse and human atlas. Academic Press: United States