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Physiology (/ˌfɪziˈɒlədʒi/; from Ancient Greek φύσις (physis),

meaning 'nature, origin', and -λογία (-logia), meaning 'study
of'[1]) is the scientific study of normal mechanisms, and their
interactions, which works within a living system.[2] A sub-
discipline of biology, its focus is in how organisms, organ
systems, organs, cells, and biomolecules carry out the chemical
or physical functions that exist in a living system.[3] Given the
size of the field, it is divided into, among others, animal
physiology (including that of humans), plant physiology,
cellular physiology, microbial physiology (microbial
metabolism), bacterial physiology, and viral physiology.[3]

Central to an understanding of physiological functioning is its

integrated nature with other disciplines such as chemistry and
Oil painting depicting Claude Bernard, the father of
physics, coordinated homeostatic control mechanisms, and
modern physiology, with his pupils
continuous communication between cells.[4]

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine is awarded to those

who make significant achievements in this discipline by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. In medicine, a physiologic state is
one occurring from normal body function, rather than pathologically, which is centered on the abnormalities that occur in animal
diseases, including humans.[5]

Foundations of Physiology
Human physiology
Animal Physiology
Plant Physiology
Cellular Physiology
Microbial Physiology
Viral Physiology
The Classical Era
Early Modern Period
Late Modern Period
Notable Physiologists
Women in physiology
Physiological Societies
See also
External links
Foundations of Physiology

Human physiology
human body alive and functioning,[3] through scientific
Human physiology seeks to understand the mechanisms that work to keep the
enquiry into the nature of mechanical, physical, and biochemical functions of humans, their organs, and the cells of which they are
composed. The principal level of focus of physiology is at the level of or
gans and systems within systems. The endocrine and nervous
systems play major roles in the reception and transmission of signals. that integrate function in animals. Homeostasis is a major
aspect with regard to such interactions within plants as well as animals. The biological basis of the study of physiology, integration
refers to the overlap of many functions of the systems of the human body, as well as its accompanied form. It is achieved through
communication that occurs in a variety of ways, both electrical and chemical.

Changes in physiology can impact the mental functions of individuals. Examples of this would be the effects of certain medications
or toxic levels of substances.[6][7] Change in behavior as a result of these substances is often used to assess the health of

Much of the foundation of knowledge in human physiology was provided by animal experimentation. Due to the frequent connection
between form and function, physiology and anatomy are intrinsically linked and are studied in tandem as part of a medical

Animal Physiology

Plant Physiology
Plant physiology is a subdiscipline of botany concerned with the functioning of plants. Closely related fields include plant
morphology, plant ecology, phytochemistry, cell biology, genetics, biophysics, and molecular biology. Fundamental processes of
plant physiology include photosynthesis, respiration, plant nutrition, tropisms, nastic movements, photoperiodism,
photomorphogenesis, circadian rhythms, seed germination, dormancy, and stomata function and transpiration. Absorption of water by
roots, production of food in the leaves, and growth of shoots towards light are examples of plant physiology

Cellular Physiology
Although there are differences between animal, plant, and microbial cells, the basic physiological functions of cells can be divided
into the processes of cell division, cell signaling, cell growth, and cell metabolism.

Microbial Physiology
Microorganisms can be found almost everywhere on Earth. Types of microorganisms include archaea, bacteria, eukaryotes, protists,
fungi, and micro-plants. Microbes are important in human culture and health in many ways, serving to ferment foods, treat sewage,
produce fuel, enzymes and other bioactive compounds. They are essential tools in biology as model organisms and have been put to
use in biological warfare and bioterrorism. They are a vital component of fertile soils. In the human body microorganisms make up
the human microbiota including the essential gut flora. They are the pathogens responsible for many infectious diseases and as such
are the target of hygiene measures. Most microorganisms can reproduce rapidly, and bacteria are also able to freely exchange genes
through conjugation, transformation and transduction, even between widely divergent species.

Viral Physiology

The Classical Era
The study of human physiology as a medical field originates in classical Greece, at the time of Hippocrates (late 5th century BC).[11]
Outside of Western tradition, early forms of physiology or anatomy can be reconstructed as having been present at around the same
time in China,[12] India[13] and elsewhere. Hippocrates incorporated his belief system called the theory of humours, which consisted
of four basic substance: earth, water, air and fire. Each substance is known for having a corresponding humour: black bile, phlegm,
blood and yellow bile, respectively. Hippocrates also noted some emotional connections to the four humours, which Claudius
Galenus would later expand on. The critical thinking of Aristotle and his emphasis on the relationship between structure and function
marked the beginning of physiology inAncient Greece. Like Hippocrates, Aristotle took to the humoral theory of disease, which also
consisted of four primary qualities in life: hot, cold, wet and dry.[14] Claudius Galenus (c. ~130–200 AD), known as Galen of
Pergamum, was the first to use experiments to probe the functions of the body. Unlike Hippocrates, Galen argued that humoral
imbalances can be located in specific organs, including the entire body.[15] His modification of this theory better equipped doctors to
make more precise diagnoses. Galen also played off of Hippocrates idea that emotions were also tied to the humours, and added the
notion of temperaments: sanguine corresponds with blood; phlegmatic is tied to phlegm; yellow bile is connected to choleric; and
black bile corresponds with melancholy. Galen also saw the human body consisting of three connected systems: the brain and nerves,
which are responsible for thoughts and sensations; the heart and arteries, which give life; and the liver and veins, which can be
attributed to nutrition and growth.[15] Galen was also the founder of experimental physiology.[16] And for the next 1,400 years,
Galenic physiology was a powerful and influential tool in medicine.

Early Modern Period

Jean Fernel (1497–1558), a French physician, introduced the term "physiology".[17] Galen, Ibn al-Nafis, Michael Servetus, Realdo
Colombo, Amato Lusitano and William Harvey, are credited as making important discoveries in the circulation of the blood.[18]
Santorio Santorio in 1610s was the first to use a device to measure the pulse rate (the pulsilogium), and a thermoscope to measure

In 1791 Luigi Galvani described the role of electricity in nerves of dissected frogs. In 1811, Julien Jean César Legallois studied
respiration in animal dissection and lesions and found the center of respiration in the medulla oblongata. In the same year, Charles
Bell finished work on what would later become known as the Bell-Magendie law, which compared functional differences between
dorsal and ventral roots of thespinal cord. In 1824, François Magendie described the sensory roots and produced the first evidence of
the cerebellum’s role in equilibration to complete the Bell-Magendie law.

In the 1820s, the French physiologistHenri Milne-Edwards introduced the notion of physiological division of labor
, which allowed to
"compare and study living things as if they were machines created by the industry of man." Inspired in the work of Adam Smith,
Milne-Edwards wrote that the "body of all living beings, whether animal or plant, resembles a factory ... where the organs,
comparable to workers, work incessantly to produce the phenomena that constitute the life of the individual." In more differentiated
organisms, the functional labor could be apportioned between different instruments or systems (called by him as appareils).[20]

In 1858, Joseph Lister studied the cause of blood coagulation and inflammation that resulted after previous injuries and surgical
wounds. He later discovered and implemented antiseptics in the operating room, and as a result decreased death rate from surgery by
a substantial amount.[5][21]

The Physiological Society was founded in London in 1876 as a dining club.[22] The American Physiological Society (APS) is a
nonprofit organization that was founded in 1887. The Society is, "devoted to fostering education, scientific research, and
dissemination of information in the physiological sciences."

In 1891, Ivan Pavlov performed research on "conditional responses" that involved dogs' saliva production in response to a bell and
visual stimuli.[21]

In the 19th century, physiological knowledge began to accumulate at a rapid rate, in particular with the 1838 appearance of the Cell
theory of Matthias Schleiden and Theodor Schwann. It radically stated that organisms are made up of units called cells. Claude
Bernard's (1813–1878) further discoveries ultimately led to his concept of milieu interieur (internal environment), which would later
be taken up and championed as "homeostasis" by American physiologist Walter B. Cannon in 1929. By homeostasis, Cannon meant
"the maintenance of steady states in the body and the physiological processes through which they are regulated."[24] In other words,
the body's ability to regulate its internal environment. William Beaumont was the first American to utilize the practical application of

Nineteenth century physiologists such as Michael Foster, Max Verworn, and Alfred Binet, based on Haeckel's ideas, elaborated what
[20] later renamed in the 20th century as cell
came to be called "general physiology", a unified science of life based on the cell actions,

Late Modern Period

In the 20th century, biologists became interested in how organisms other than human beings function, eventually spawning the fields
of comparative physiology and ecophysiology.[26] Major figures in these fields include Knut Schmidt-Nielsen and George
Bartholomew. Most recently, evolutionary physiologyhas become a distinct subdiscipline.[27]

In 1920, August Krogh won the Nobel Prize for discovering how,in capillaries, blood flow is regulated.[21]

In 1954, Andrew Huxley and Hugh Huxley, alongside their research team, discovered the sliding filaments in skeletal muscle, known
today as the sliding filament theory.[21]

Notable Physiologists

Women in physiology
Initially, women were largely excluded from official involvement in any physiological society. The American Physiological Society,
for example, was founded in 1887 and included only men in its ranks.[28] In 1902, the American Physiological Society elected Ida
Hyde as the first female member of the society.[29] Hyde, a representative of the American Association of University Women and a
global advocate for gender equality in education,[30] attempted to promote gender equality in every aspect of science and medicine.

Soon thereafter, in 1913, J.S. Haldane proposed that women be allowed to formally join The Physiological Society, which had been
founded in 1876.[31] On 3 July 1915, six women were officially admitted: Florence Buchanan, Winifred Cullis, Ruth C. Skelton,
Sarah C. M. Sowton, Constance Leetham Terry, and Enid M. Tribe.[32] The centenary of the election of women was celebrated in
2015 with the publication of the book "Women Physiologists: Centenary Celebrations And Beyond For The Physiological Society."
(ISBN 978-0-9933410-0-7)

Prominent women physiologists include:

Gerty Cori,[33] along with husband Carl Cori, received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1947 for their
discovery of the phosphate-containing form of glucose known as glycogen, as well as its function withineukaryotic
metabolic mechanisms for energy production. Moreover , they discovered the Cori cycle, also known as the Lactic
acid cycle,[34] which describes how muscle tissue converts glycogen into lactic acid vialactic acid fermentation.
Barbara McClintock was rewarded the 1983 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the discovery of genetic
transposition McClintock is the only female recipient who has won an unshared Nobel Prize. [35]

Gertrude Elion,[36] along with George Hitchings and Sir James Black, received the Nobel Prize for Physiology or
Medicine in 1988 for their development of drugs employed in the treatment of several major diseases, such as
leukemia, some autoimmune disorders, gout, malaria, and viral herpes.
Linda B. Buck,[37] along with Richard Axel, received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2004 for their
discovery of odorant receptors and the complex organization of theolfactory system.
Françoise Barré-Sinoussi,[38] along with Luc Montagnier, received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2008
for their work on the identification of theHuman Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), the cause of Acquired
Immunodeficiency Syndrome(AIDS).
Elizabeth Blackburn,[39] along with Carol W. Greider[40] and Jack W. Szostak, was awarded the 2009 Nobel Prize for
Physiology or Medicine for the discovery of the genetic composition and function of
telomeres and the enzyme called
There are many ways to categorize the subdiscplines of physiology:

based on the taxa studied: human physiology, animal physiology, plant physiology, microbial physiology, viral
based on the level of organization: cell physiology, molecular physiology, systems physiology, organismal
physiology, ecological physiology, integrative physiology
based on the process that causes physiological variation:developmental physiology, environmental physiology,
evolutionary physiology
based on the ultimate goals of the research:applied physiology (e.g., medical physiology),non-applied (e.g.,
comparative physiology)

Physiological Societies

See also
Outline of physiology Fish physiology
Applied physiology Insect physiology
Cell physiology Human body
Cybernetics List of physiologists
Cytoarchitecture Metabolome
Defense physiology Neurophysiology
Ecophysiology Physiome
Exercise physiology Plant physiology

1. "physiology" ( Online Etymology
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p. 3. ISBN 978-1-4160-4574-8.
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Function. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education. pp. 14–15.ISBN 978-1-259-29409-9.
5. "What is physiology?" ( Medical News Today.
6. van der Linden, S. (2013)."A Response to Dolan. In A. Oliver (Ed.)"(
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Vleuten, Cees PM (19 November 2013)."Students' perceptions of anatomy across the undergraduate problem-
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25514). US National Library of Medicine. National Institutes of Health.13: 152. doi:10.1186/1472-6920-13-152(http
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13. D. P. Burma; Maharani Chakravorty. From Physiology and Chemistry to Biochemistry
. Pearson Education. p. 8.
14. "Early Medicine and Physiology"(
15. "Galen of Pergamum" ( Encyclopædia
16. Fell, C.; Pearson, F. (November 2007). "Historical Perspectives of Thoracic Anatomy"(
retrieve/pii/S1547412706001034). Thoracic Surgery Clinics. 17 (4): 443–8. doi:10.1016/j.thorsurg.2006.12.001(http
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. Routledge. p. 344.
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ed/27791994). Clinical Hemorheology and Microcirculation. 64 (4): 541–549. doi:10.3233/CH-168031 (https://doi.or
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25. Heilbron, J. L. (2003). The Oxford Companion to the History of Modern Science
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( .
26. Feder, ME; Bennett, AF; WW, Burggren; Huey, RB (1987). New directions in ecological physiology. New York:
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and/GarlCa94.pdf) (PDF). Annual Review of Physiology. 56 (1): 579–621.
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28. "American Physiological Society > Founders"( The
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41. Moyes, C.D., Schulte, P.M. Principles of Animal Physiology, second edition. Pearson/Benjamin Cummings. Boston,
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External links
The Physiological Society public information site sponsored by The American Physiological Society

Human physiology

Widmaier, E.P., Raff, H., Strang, K.T. Vander's Human Physiology. 11th Edition, McGraw-Hill, 2009.
Marieb, E.N. Essentials of Human Anatomy and Physiology . 10th Edition, Benjamin Cummings, 2012.
Animal physiology

Hill, R.W., Wyse, G.A., Anderson, M.Animal Physiology, 3rd ed. Sinauer Associates, Sunderland, 2012.
Moyes, C.D., Schulte, P.M. Principles of Animal Physiology, second edition. Pearson/Benjamin Cummings. Boston,
MA, 2008.
Randall, D., Burggren, W., and French, K. Eckert Animal Physiology: Mechanism and Adaptation , 5th Edition. W.H.
Freeman and Company, 2002.
Schmidt-Nielsen, K. Animal Physiology: Adaptation and Environment . Cambridge & New York: Cambridge University
Press, 1997.
Withers, P.C. Comparative animal physiology. Saunders College Publishing, New Y ork, 1992.
Plant physiology

Larcher, W. Physiological plant ecology(4th ed.). Springer, 2001.

Salisbury, F.B, Ross, C.W. Plant physiology. Brooks/Cole Pub Co., 1992
Taiz, L., Zieger, E. Plant Physiology (5th ed.), Sunderland, Massachusetts: Sinauer
, 2010.
Fungal physiology

Griffin, D.H. Fungal Physiology, Second Edition. Wiley-Liss, New York, 1994.
Protistan physiology

Levandowsky, M. Physiological Adaptations of Protists. In: Cell physiology sourcebook: essentials of membrane
biophysics. Amsterdam; Boston: Elsevier/AP , 2012.
Levandowski, M., Hutner, S.H. (eds). Biochemistry and physiology of protozoa. Volumes 1, 2, and 3. Academic
Press: New York, NY, 1979; 2nd ed.
Laybourn-Parry J. A Functional Biology of Free-Living Protozoa. Berkeley, California: University of CaliforniaPress;
Algal physiology

Lobban, C.S., Harrison, P.J. Seaweed ecology and physiology. Cambridge University Press, 1997.
Stewart, W. D. P. (ed.). Algal Physiology and Biochemistry. Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford, 1974.
Bacterial physiology
El-Sharoud, W. (ed.). Bacterial Physiology: A Molecular Approach. Springer-Verlag, Berlin-Heidelberg, 2008.
Kim, B.H., Gadd, M.G.Bacterial Physiology and Metabolism. Cambridge, 2008.
Moat, A.G., Foster, J.W., Spector, M.P. Microbial Physiology, 4th ed. Wiley-Liss, Inc. New York, NY, 2002.

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