Homeostasis is the process that controls certainthings in the body such as body temperature (37oC) and waterlevels in order to ensure they say the same. It can also be described asmaintenance of a constant internal environment.
(GCSE Bitesize, OCR 21CAdditional Science (Pre-2011), Homeostasis) As well as temperature, homeostasis helps tokeep the concentration of ions in the bloodstream stable, alongside the pHbalance and the concentration of glucose in the bloodstream. Homeostasis is maintained in different ways. Forexample, body temperature is maintained through the whole body whereas the stomachwill maintain a pH level that is different to a surrounding organ. Furthermore,every cell will have a different concentration of ions to each other. In orderto maintain the body’s overall function then, homeostasis needs to bemaintained at every level within the body.
Organs and other biological systems areconstantly being pushed away from their stable levels. An example of this wouldbe that during physical activity: your body temperature would increase due toheat being produced. Negative and positive feedback loops areinvolved in the process of maintaining homeostasis.
Negative feedback loops area trigger that starts the process of adjusting something back to a stablelevel. For example, if you drink a glass of orange juice, your blood glucoselevels will rise and the pancreas will act to produce insulin to bring theblood glucose level back to stable. Another example would be if your bodytemperature rises, a negative feedback loop would bring it back to the stablerange. It works through sensors detecting the increase in body temperature andrelaying the information to the part of the brain that controls bodytemperature, the hypothalamus. Once the hypothalamus receives this informationit will activate the relevant effector, which will oppose what is happening inthe body, and stabilise the body temperature. The set target value is not always a fixedvalue. For example, body temperature will change over a 24-hour period. Havinga fever will also have a temporary increase in the temperature set value sothat the heat generating response is activated when it needs to be withtemperatures higher than the normal set value.
Most homeostatic circuits have two negativefeedback loops, one for when something in the body is above the set targetvalue and one for when it’s under. Due to the fact that homeostasis isdependant on negative feedback loops, anything that interferes with them,usually causes disruption within homeostasis, which can lead to diseases. (“Homeostasis”by OpenStax College, Anatomy & Physiology) An example of this is diabetes. Diabetes iscaused by a broken feedback loop involving insulin. The broken feedback loopmeans that the body cannot bring high blood sugar levels down to the healthylevel, which is generally between 70mg/dl (milligrams per decilitre) and100mg/dl.Normally within the human body, blood sugarlevels are controlled by two hormones, which are insulin and glucagon. Thepurpose of insulin is to decrease the concentration of glucose in the blood.
After eating, your blood sugar levels rise, which cause the pancreas to secreteinsulin to bring the level back down. Insulin is also used as a signal thattriggers cells like fat and muscle to use the glucose in the body for energyand it allows glucose to convert into glycogen, which is a storage moleculeusually found in the liver. Both of these processes take sugar out of theblood, which brings blood sugar levels back down to the normal range.
If you haven’t eaten for a while it will causeyour blood glucose levels to fall, which will cause glucagon to be secretedfrom a different group of pancreatic cells. Once glucagon is broken down intoglucose, it is released into the bloodstream and therefore causes the bloodsugar levels to go back up to the normal range. Diabetes occurs when the pancreas can’t makeenough or any insulin, or when the body stops responding to insulin.
This meansthat blood sugar levels will stay high and continue rising after a meal. Thisis because muscle and fat cells do not get enough energy from glucose, whichcan cause fatigue and causing muscle and fat tissues to degrade. Also, highblood sugar can cause things such as urination, thirst, and dehydration andeventually can lead to more serious complications. (“Homeostasis”by OpenStax College, Biology) The pancreas is also part of theendocrine system, and the involvement it has within homeostasis is veryinformation.
Another example of homeostasis within the bodyis based around bacteria and viruses. When the human body gets ill due tobacteria and viruses, the lymphatic systems helps to maintain homeostasis. Thelymphatic system has a number of functions: It removes fluid from tissues,absorbs and transports fatty acids from the digestive system and transportswhite blood cells from the lymph nodes into the bones. Therefore, the lymphaticsystem will try to fight illnesses before you become sick, trying to make sureyou remain healthy. (HomeostasisExample. YourDictionary, n.
d. Web. 19 January 2018.) The endocrine system is a system of glands thatassist the body in carrying out bodily function.
The endocrine system secretesand produces hormones, which affects all the organs within the body and isimportant for things such as the regulation of temperature, therefore making itimportant for homeostasis. The function of the hypothalamus in theendocrine system is to assist the pituitary gland. Hormones that are producedwithin the hypothalamus travel to the pituitary gland to help control andstimulate it.
The pituitary gland is also known as the master gland due to thefact that it is able to regulate other glands in the human body. It does thisby deciding how much of the hormone is needed to be secreted into thebloodstream. The pituitary gland consists of two parts. Theseare the anterior lobe and the posterior lobe. The posterior lobe is smallerthan the anterior lobe. It secretes and stores two hormones: oxytocin andantidiuretic hormone, otherwise known as ADH. Oxytocin is responsible for thecontractions in the uterus during childbirth. ADH is made in the hypothalamus,secreted by the pituitary gland and gets stored in the posterior lobe.
ADHhelps to control blood pressure through acting on the kidneys and blood vessels.Alongside this, it has another, more important role in the human body, which isto conserve the fluid volume of the human body. It does this by reducing theamount of water that is passed out in the urine; it allows water in the urineto be taken into the body in a specific area of the kidney. Thus, more waterreturning to the bloodstream, urine concentration rises and water lossdecreases. There are four glands that are located behindthe thyroid called the parathyroid glands. The hormone that is produced by thisgland is called PTH, also known as parathyroid hormones. This hormone regulatescalcium levels through stimulating the bones so more of it is released when thelevels in the bloodstream are too low.
The adrenal gland is just above the kidney andis involved in releasing epinephrine and norepinephrine in stressful situations. Furthermore, the pineal gland, which is found inthe centre of the brain, produces melatonin, which is what causes people tobecome tired and sleepy. Melatonin levels are higher at night than during theday. The ovaries and testes are also involved in theendocrine system. The hormones produced in female ovaries are oestrogen andprogesterone, which help to regulate the menstrual cycle and assists with theproduction of eggs. Testosterone is produced in the testes, which is importantfor male sperm production. (L. Samuel, The Endocrine System) Similarly to the endocrine system working withhomeostasis to regulate control within the human body, all the organ systemswithin the body are required to work together in order to allow for a goodoverall functioning of the body.
Tasks within the body, such as cellularrespiration, need the support of multiple organ systems working together.Cellular respiration requires glucose from food and oxygen, where therespiratory system brings oxygen into the lungs when you breathe and thedigestive system breaks down food into glucose. The circulatory system movesglucose and other nutrients to the cells as well as moving oxygen from thelungs to the cells. The circulatory system also moves carbon dioxide waste fromthe cells to the lungs and through gas exchange; carbon dioxide waste isremoved from the body when you breathe out. Therefore, this demonstrates howmultiple organ systems will work together in order to provide normal andhealthy bodily function.
Both the endocrine and nervous system help tocontrol functions in the human body, however they both do so in different ways.Within the endocrine system, chemical messages travel to all parts of the body,whereas in the nervous system the messages travel to specific target cells orgroup of cells. The conduction of messages in the endocrinesystem is chemical, yet is both chemical and electrical in the nervous system. The effectors of the endocrine system are organsand glands, which are to do with the internal environment and development, yetwithin the nervous system the effects, are muscles and glands. Within both the endocrine and nervous systems,the hypothalamus is involved in controlling the internal environment withinboth systems. The speed of movement of information in theendocrine system is slower than the nervous system, where the information movesa lot faster. The endocrine system provides a long-term effectyet the nervous system has a short-term effect.