What is Physiology?

Dr Gordon McEwan School of Medical Sciences

What is Physiology?
• The study of how living organisms work

eg:

feeding movement adaptation to changing environmental factors reproduction

• Life processes governed by laws of physics and chemistry •  Organisms are machines/factories • Some processes common to all organismal species (eg DNA replication) but many are highly specific • Need to consider bacterial or plant or animal physiology • Animal physiology  human physiology

What is a Physiologist? • Physiologists are interested in function and integration ie how things work together at various levels of organisation  whole organism • When studying parts of organisms (even single molecules) a physiologist will seek to establish the relevance of any information derived to the function of the whole body .

Epithelial.. Muscular. Pancreas etc. Liver.Fertilised ovum Cell Division Differentiation Tissues Organs Heart.000. Connective.000. Nervous 60.000 cells 200 cell types . Lungs.000. Kidneys. Brain..

Human Organ Systems • Cardiovascular system • Respiratory system • Digestive system • Renal system • Reproductive system • Musculo-skeletal system • Nervous system • Endocrine system • Immune system .

Human Organ Systems • Cardiovascular system • Respiratory system • Digestive system • Renal system • Reproductive system • Musculo-skeletal system • Nervous system • Endocrine system • Immune system .

Human Organ Systems • Cardiovascular system • Respiratory system • Digestive system • Renal system • Reproductive system • Musculo-skeletal system • Nervous system • Endocrine system • Immune system .

Human Organ Systems • Cardiovascular system • Respiratory system • Digestive system • Renal system • Reproductive system • Musculo-skeletal system • Nervous system • Endocrine system • Immune system .

Human Organ Systems • Cardiovascular system • Respiratory system • Digestive system • Renal system • Reproductive system • Musculo-skeletal system • Nervous system • Endocrine system • Immune system .

Human Organ Systems • Cardiovascular system • Respiratory system • Digestive system • Renal system • Reproductive system • Musculo-skeletal system • Nervous system • Endocrine system • Immune system .

Human Organ Systems • Cardiovascular system • Respiratory system • Digestive system • Renal system • Reproductive system • Musculo-skeletal system • Nervous system • Endocrine system • Immune system .

Human Organ Systems • Cardiovascular system • Respiratory system • Digestive system • Renal system • Reproductive system • Musculo-skeletal system • Nervous system • Endocrine system • Immune system .

Human Organ Systems • Cardiovascular system • Respiratory system • Digestive system • Renal system • Reproductive system • Musculo-skeletal system • Nervous system • Endocrine system • Immune system .

Human Organ Systems • Cardiovascular system • Respiratory system • Digestive system • Renal system • Reproductive system • Musculo-skeletal system • Nervous system • Endocrine system • Immune system .

Human Organ Systems • Cardiovascular system • Respiratory system • Digestive system • Renal system • Reproductive system • Musculo-skeletal system • Nervous system • Endocrine system • Immune system .

Human Organ Systems • Cardiovascular system • Respiratory system • Digestive system • Renal system • Reproductive system • Musculo-skeletal system • Nervous system • Endocrine system • Immune system .

Co-ordination of Organ Systems Adapted from: Life. Fig 41. Purves et al.1 .

” “The fixity of the internal environment is the condition for free life.Claude Bernard (1813-1878) “La fixité du milieu intérieur est la condition de la vie libre.” Homeostasis Walter Cannon (1929) .

pH.extracellular fluid composition • Cardiac muscle cell contraction  electrical signals  intracellular and extracellular [Na+]. temperature etc) • Require regulatory mechanisms to defend against changes in external environment and changes due to activity • Cellular homeostasis .Homeostasis • Process of maintaining the composition of the internal body compartments within fairly strict limits (ion concentrations. osmolarity.intracellular fluid composition • Organismal homeostasis . [K+] and [Ca2+] • If extracellular [K+] too high  depolarisation  contraction  fibrillation (bag of worms) •  Extracellular [K+] must be kept within narrow range .

pressure) within defined range following disturbance . temperature.l-1   insulin secretion   [glucose] if [glucose] << 4 mmol.l-1   insulin secretion   [glucose] ie [insulin]blood changes to maintain [glucose]blood • Regulation termed .How is homeostasis achieved? • Desired concentration range for each chemical constituent of body  regulatory mechanisms eg Blood [glucose]  4-5 mmol.l-1 if [glucose] >> 5 mmol.NEGATIVE FEEDBACK • Control system designed to maintain level of given variable (concentration.

Negative feedback loop Negative feedback loop requires: Sensor specific to variable needing to be controlled if sensor  comparator  Error Signal  restore variable to desired level Error signal Effector Comparator reference point for sensor to compare against Effector Disturbance Controlled variable Comparator (reference point) Sensor Adapted from Pocock & Richards Fig 1.1a .

Limitations of negative feedback • Negative feedback control initiated after variable has been disturbed • Amount of correction to be applied assessed by magnitude of error signal  incomplete correction • Overcorrection  oscillations in controlled variable • Disadvantages overcome by multiple regulatory mechanisms eg regulation of blood [glucose] insulin glucagon   [glucose]blood   [glucose]blood .

error signal  reduce deviation from reference point • Positive feedback .Positive feedback • Negative feedback .error signal  increase deviation from reference point (vicious circle) error signal + disturbance + effector sensor controlled variable .

05% Phosphorus 1.007% Zinc 0.16% Calcium 1.2% Sulphur 0.Chemical composition of body Major Elements % body wt Oxygen 65% Carbon 18% Hydrogen 10% Nitrogen 3.002% Principal organic constituents: • carbohydrates  sugars • fats  fatty acids • proteins  amino acids • nucleic acids  nuclotides Water = 60% adult male = 50% adult female .4% Mineral Elements Sodium 0.17% Potassium 0.25% Trace Elements Iron 0.28% Chloride 0.5% Magnesium 0.

molecule part hydrophilic/part hydrophobic Body Water Intracellular fluid (inside cells) Extracellular fluid (outside cells) Plasma (inside blood vessels) Interstitial Fluid (outside blood vessels) .Body water • • • • Water is main solvent in living cells Hydrophilic molecules dissolve in water Hydrophobic molecules do not dissolve in water Amphiphilic .

2 litres) 67% Intracellular fluid (28 litres) 7% Plasma (2.8 litres) Adapted from Pocock & Richards Fig 2.Distribution of body water between compartments 27% Intercellular fluid (11.1 .

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