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2010 Summer assignment

1. Fig. 3.1 is a simple diagram of a mammalian heart and associated blood vessels as seen in front (ventral)

(a) (i) Draw arrows on Fig. 3.1 to show the direction of blood flow through the left side of the heart.
(ii) State the name of vessel X and valve Y.

(iii) Explain why there are valves at P and Q.

(b) The maximum thickness of the external wall of each of the four chambers was measured. The
measurements made are shown below.
2 mm 9 mm 16 mm 2 mm

(i) From the list of measurements, select the one most likely to correspond to each of the chambers, A ,
C and D. write your answers in the table.
Chamber Thickness / mm

(ii) Explain the differences in the wall thickness of chambers A, C and D.

(c) Describe how the heart beat is initiated and how the contractions of the four chambers are coordinated. (10

2. Peru is a country in South America where people live at a wide range of altitudes. Table 4.1 shows :
- the partial pressure of oxygen in the atmosphere at sea level
- the partial pressure of oxygen in the atmosphere at 4500m
- the red blood cell count of an adult living at sea level
- the red blood cell count of another adult, born at sea level, but who has lived at 4500m for many

Table 4.1
altitude Partial pressure of atmospheric Red blood cell count / cells mm −3
oxygen / kPa
Sea level 21 5.0 x 10 6
4500 m 15 6.4 x 10 6

(a) (i) Explain what is meant by partial pressure of oxygen, using the figures in Table 4.1 to help you.

(ii) Describe what would be likely to happen to people who move to high altitude if their red blood cell
counts did not increase.
(b) The synthesis of red blood cells is stimulated by the hormone erythropoetin (EPO) which is secreted by the
kidneys. Some long distance athletes have been known to take a course of EPO as apart of a training
programme. Suggest why some athletes have taken erythropotein.

3. In an investigation into the effect of a drug on the nervous system, the reaction time of four volunteers
was tested by timing how long it took for them to push a button after seeing a lamp light up.

Volunteer A drank 50 cm3 of water. Volunteers B, C and D each drank 50 cm3 of a solution containing
different concentrations of the drug. The reaction time of each volunteer was then tested every ten minutes
during the next hour.

Reaction time/seconds
Volunteer Concentration of drug/arbitrary units
0 min 10 min 20 min 30 min 40 min 50 min 60 min
A 0 0.3 0.3 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2
B 1 0.3 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.3 0.2 0.3
C 2 0.2 0.5 0.6 0.6 0.5 0.4 0.4
D 3 0.3 0.8 0.9 1.0 1.0 0.9 0.9

a. Suggest what the data indicate about the absorption of the drug into the bloodstream. Give a reason for
your answer.

b. Describe the effects that the drug had upon the reaction times of the volunteers during the 60 minutes
of the investigation.
c. This drug is known to affect synaptic transmission. Suggest how the drug might cause the effects you
have described in b.

4. The secretion of saliva by the salivary glands is controlled by the nervous system. The graph shows the
rate of secretion of saliva in a person who was shown an orange and then allowed to eat it.

With reference to the graph, explain:

a. what is meant by a conditioned reflex; (2 marks)

b. the advantage of controlling the secretion of saliva with both a conditioned reflex and a simple
reflex. (2 marks)
A. The graph shows the changes in the permeability of an axon membrane to sodium ions and to potassium
ions during an action potential.

Use the information in the graph to explain how:

a.. at the start of an action potential, the potential difference across the membrane rapidly changes from
negative to positive (2 marks)

b. the resting potential is restored. (1 mark)

B. Suggest why, during a period of intense nervous activity, the metabolic rate of a nerve cell increases.
(2 marks)
6. The concentration of glucose and two pancreatic hormones (A and B) in the blood of a mammal were
monitored before, during and after a normal carbohydrate-rich meal. The following table shows the
typical changes in the levels of blood glucose and these two hormones during the experiment:

Concentration in blood
hormone A
Time (min) glucose hormone B
-5 (10-6 interna-
(10 g/ml) (10-12 g/ml)
tional units/ml)
60 minutes
89 16 127
before meal
Meal 0 87 17 125
30 125 100 103
60 134 140 92
120 105 89 77
After meal
180 94 38 114
240 89 19 126
300 88 18 125

(a) Plot the above results in the form of a graph.

(6 marks)
(b) How do the two hormones differ in their response to changes in blood glucose level ? Name the
two hormones.
(2 marks)
(c) Draw a flow diagram to indicate the relationship between the increase in blood glucose level
and the secretion of hormones A and B. Indicate in your diagram, for each hormone, its site of
secretion and one major effect on the target tissues concerned.
(4 marks)
(d) If, instead of the carbohydrate meal, an equivalent amount of glucose is administered directly
into the bloodstream, how would this affect the observed changes in blood glucose level ? Give
a reason for your answer. (2 marks)
(e) (i) In a similar experiment, the blood glucose was monitored as in the above experiment.
Three hours after the meal, the adrenal medulla of the animal was briefly stimulated to
secrete a large amount of an adrenomedullary hormone, the effect of which disappeared
within an hour. Sketch a curve in your answer book based on the curve plotted in (a),
but modified to show the possible changes in blood glucose level after the stimulation.
(3 marks)
(ii) Name this adrenomedullary hormone.
What is the biological significance of the change in blood glucose level caused by the
secretion of this adrenomedullary hormone ?
(3 marks)
The End