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What is the respiratory system?

Your respiratory system is made up of the organs in your body that help you to breathe. Remember, that Respiration = Breathing. The goal of breathing is to deliver oxygen to the body and to take away carbon dioxide. Parts of the respiratory system Lungs The lungs are the main organs of the respiratory system. In the lungs oxygen is taken into the body and carbon dioxide is breathed out. The red blood cells are responsible for picking up the oxygen in the lungs and carrying the oxygen to all the body cells that need it. The red blood cells drop off the oxygen to the body cells, then pick up the carbon dioxide which is a waste gas product produced by our cells. The red blood cells transport the carbon dioxide back to the lungs and we breathe it out when we exhale. Contents

Trachea The trachea (TRAY-kee-uh} is sometimes called the windpipe. The trachea filters the air we breathe and branches into the bronchi. Contents Bronchi The bronchi (BRAHN-ky) are two air tubes that branch off of the trachea and carry air directly into the lungs. Contents Diaphragm Breathing starts with a dome-shaped muscle at the bottom of the lungs called the diaphragm (DY-uh-fram). When you breathe in, the diaphragm contracts. When it contracts it flattens out and pulls downward. This movement enlarges the space that the lungs are in. This larger space pulls air into the lungs. When you breathe out, the diaphragm expands reducing the amount of space for the lungs and forcing air out. The diaphragm is the main muscle used in breathing. Contents

Why Do I Yawn?

When you are sleepy or drowsy the lungs do not take enough oxygen from the air. This causes a shortage of oxygen in our bodies. The brain senses this shortage of oxygen and sends a message that causes you to take a deep long breath---a YAWN. Contents Why Do I Sneeze? Sneezing is like a cough in the upper breathing passages. It is the body's way of removing an irritant from the sensitive mucous membranes of the nose. Many things can irritate the mucous membranes. Dust, pollen, pepper or even a cold blast of air are just some of the many things that may cause you to sneeze. What Causes Hiccups? Hiccups are the sudden movements of the diaphragm. It is involuntary --- you have no control over hiccups, as you well know. There are many causes of hiccups. The diaphragm may get irritated, you may have eaten to fast, or maybe some substance in the blood could even have brought on the hiccups.

Lymphatic and Immune Systems A number of mechanisms operate within the bodies of birds and mammals that either prevent infection or fight infection by foreign particles and cells. Nonspecific immunity refers to mechanisms that are generally effective against a variety of infections. Specific immunity refers to mechanisms that are specific for one type of infection. Specific immunity is generally acquired after exposure to the infecting particles or cells. Barriers to Entry The skin is the main barrier preventing the entry of foreign organisms and particles. Skin oils weaken or kill bacteria. Cilia lining the respiratory tract sweep mucus and trapped particles to the throat where they are swallowed. The low pH of the stomach kills microorganisms. Tears wash the eyes. Saliva helps clean teeth, preventing dental caries. Urine flow prevents colonization of the urinary tract. Vaginal secretions move microorganisms out of the reproductive tract. The normal bacterial colonists of the skin, gut, and vagina prevent harmful microorganisms from colonizing the areas. Inflammatory Reaction The inflammatory reaction is a local response to injury. Damaged tissue releases bradykinin, which causes pain and stimulates mast cells to release histamine. Bradykinin and histamine produce vasodilation, ( increased blood vessel diameter) to increase blood flow to the area.

Bradykinin and histamine also cause increased permeability (allows fluid to leak out). This brings more defensive cells and chemicals to the area. Neutrophils and monocytes are amoeboid white blood cells (leukocytes) that squeeze out of the capillaries and enter the damaged tissue. Neutrophils phagocytize foreign material. Monocytes are transformed into macrophages, which can phagocytize a large number of viruses and bacteria. Macrophages release white blood cell growth factor. This hormone stimulates the bone marrow to produce leukocytes (white blood cells). Pus is a large # of dead leukocytes that fought infection. Antibody-Mediated Immunity Antigens and Antibodies Antibodies are proteins that protect against foreign invaders, either foreign molecules, viruses, or cells. They are capable of recognizing specific particles due to their shape. Their ability to recognize foreign shapes makes them useful in defending against foreign invaders. Antigens are molecules that antibodies are capable of being recognized. They are usually a protein or carbohydrate chain. The body can recognize bacteria and viruses as being foreign because they have antigens on their surface which are different than the bodies "self" antigens. Antibodies are Y-shaped molecules with a constant region and two binding sites that vary from one antibody to the next. Antibodies fit together with and bind with antigens like a lock and key. The body does not produce antibodies that bind to its own (self) antigens. Therefore all particles that are bound to antibodies are foreign. Cells, particles, or molecules that are marked with antibodies: 1. may be phagocytized (engulfed) by neutrophils or macrophages. 2. may agglutinate (clump together) because each antibody is capable of binding to two antigens. If the antigens are chemicals that are dissolved in the body fluids, the clumps of antibody-bound particles will precipitate. Antigens attached to cells will cause the cells to clump together. The clumps are then phagocytized. 3. may activate the complement system (discussed below). The complement system is a system of blood proteins that enhances the elimination of foreign cells or particles.

During our life, we will encounter over 1 million different antigens, so we need at least 1 million different antibodies, one for each kind of antigen. There are 5 different classes of antibodies (IgA, IgD, IgG, IgH, IgM). One class contains pentamers, another contains dimers. Antibodies are produced by B lymphocytes. B Lymphocytes B lymphocytes (B cells) mature in the bone marrow. B lymphocytes have receptors (antibodies) attached to their surface which function to detect antigens. There is only one specific kind of receptor on the surface of a lymphocyte. A single B lymphocyte can therefore detect only one kind of antigen. Our bodies have millions of different kinds of B lymphocytes. Clonal selection B cells that encounter the correct antigen with their antibody receptors become activated and begin to divide many times producing plasma cells, which, in turn produce antibodies. B lymphocyte + antigen more B-cells (called memory B-cells) and plasma cells antibodies B lymphocyte + incorrect antigen no reaction Plasma cells produce antibodies that are identical to the receptors on the surface of the B cell that was initially stimulated by antigen. The antibodies therefore can adhere to the type of invader that initially activated the B cell. Memory B cells are B cells that are produced as a result of stimulation by the antigen. Because there are now many of these to fight off future infection, they are called memory B cells. Large numbers of B-cells are found in the lymph nodes and in the spleen. The Complement System The complement system consists of a number of different proteins that help defend the body when they are activated. Each activated complement protein activates many others so that a large number of active proteins are produced. The following may initially activate the complement system: Antigen-Antibody interaction

Substances on the capsules or cell walls of microorganisms; substances produced by microorganisms Functions of the Complement System: 1. The activated proteins stimulate mast cells causing inflammation and attract phagocytes (neutrophils, macrophages) to the area. 2. Complement proteins bind to microorganisms and other particles enhancing their recognition by phagocytes. 3. Other complement proteins produce holes in bacterial cell walls allowing salts and fluids to enter, rupturing the cell. It is called complement because it enhances (complements) other immune responses such as the inflammatory reaction and the antibody-mediated response (the proteins bind to microbes that already have antibodies attached, improving recognition by phagocytes). Some Important Molecules Interferons Interferons are proteins produced by virus-infected animal cells that stimulate other cells to produce substances that interfere with viral replication. Lysozyme Lysozyme is an enzyme capable of breaking down the cell walls of gram-positive bacteria. It is found in perspiration, tears, saliva, nasal secretions, and tissue fluids. Cell-Mediated Immunity T lymphocytes (T-cells) are lymphocytes that mature in the thymus. This type of immunity is used to fight cells such as cancer cells, virus-infected cells, singlecelled fungi, parasites, and cells of an organ transplant. T Lymphocytes Activating T Cells T cells cannot recognize antigens unless an antigen-presenting cell (usually a macrophage) presents the antigens to them. The macrophage first engulfs the antigen (or bacterium, virus, etc.) and brings fragments of the foreign antigens to its surface linked to its own (self) antigens. The "self" antigen is referred to as an "MHC" protein. (MHC = major histocompatibility complex)

If receptors on a virgin T cell match both the self and foreign antigens, the T cell becomes activated and undergoes clonal expansion (cell reproduction) producing the 4 kinds of T cells described below. Cytotoxic T Cells Cytotoxic T cells (also called killer T cells) attack antigen-MHC bearing cells. Because MHC is a "self" marker and antigens are part of foreign particles, Cytotoxic T cells attack the bodys own cells that are infected viruses and microorganisms. They also attack cancer cells because they have mutated (therefore foreign) antigens. The cytotoxic T cell releases proteins that penetrate the target cell membrane. Salts and fluid enter through the holes and the cell ruptures. Helper T Cells When exposed to an antigen-MHC complex, Helper T cells secrete lymphokines, which enhance the response of other immune cells. For example, they stimulate T cells to clone, macrophages to phagocytize, and B cells to become plasma cells and produce antibodies. HIV (the virus that causes AIDS) attacks helper T cells as well as others in the immune system. HIV therefore prevents the immune system from becoming activated. Suppressor T Cells Suppressor T cells regulate the immune response by suppressing the activity and development of B cells and helper T cells. They do this by secreting inhibitory chemicals in response to declining antigen levels. Memory T Cells Memory T cells are T cells that persist after infection. They will secrete lymphokines if the same antigen reenters the body. Active and Passive Immunity Active immunity is produced in individuals by administering foreign antigens. These antigens may come from weakened or dead microorganisms. This process is called vaccination. Genetically engineered bacteria are currently being used to produce some antigens. Examples: malaria, hepatitis B. After exposure to antigens in a vaccine, the level of antibodies in the blood begins to increase after several days, levels off, then declines. After a secondary exposure (called a booster), the level increases rapidly. Memory B cells and memory T cells allow the individual to be actively immune. If they are exposed to the disease, a rapid immune response will occur because they already have large numbers of the correct B and T cells.

Passive immunity occurs when an individual receives antibodies instead of making their own. Passive immunity is short-lived because the persons B and T cells have not been stimulated to produce antibodies. The immunity lasts only as long as the antibodies they received remain in their bloodstream. Examples of Passive Immunity Newborn babies have antibodies they received from their mother. Breast-fed babies receive antibodies from their mothers milk. Allergies Allergies are due to an overactive immune system. Mast cells contain antibody receptors to allergens (antigens) and when stimulated, they secrete histamine. Histamine causes mucus secretion, airway constriction, and inflammation due to blood vessels leaking. Leaky blood vessels cause the tissues to swell. Allergy shots stimulate the body to produce high levels of antibodies. The antibodies react with the allergens before they have a chance to interact with the mast cells. Components of the Immune System Leukocytes Leukocytes are white blood cells. The following kinds of leukocytes were discussed in this chapter: neutrophils monocytes (become macrophages) macrophages lymphocytes B cells - mature in bone marrow T cells - mature in thymus, small intestine, skin Lymphatic System Functions of the Lymphatic System 1. take up excess tissue fluid and return it to the bloodstream 2. absorb fats at the intestinal villi and transport to the circulatory system 3. defend against disease Lymphatic Vessels

Lymphatic vessels are similar to veins, including the presence of valves. They depend on the movement of skeletal muscles to move the fluid inside. The fluid they contain is called lymph. They empty into the circulatory system via the thoracic duct and the right lymphatic duct. The thoracic duct is much larger than the right lymphatic duct. Lymph Nodes Lymph nodes are small (1-25 mm), spherical or ovoid structures that are connected to lymphatic vessels. They contain open spaces (sinuses), each with many lymphocytes and macrophages. As lymph passes through, macrophages purify it of infectious organisms and particles. The structures listed below are groups of nodules that also function to purify lymph: tonsils - back of mouth adenoids - back of mouth above the soft palate Peyers patches - intestinal wall Spleen The spleen stores blood. It helps purify blood that passes through it by removing bacteria and worn-out or damaged red blood cells. Thymus Gland T lymphocytes mature in the thymus. Bone Marrow Macrophages and lymphocytes (B cells and T cells) are produced in the bone marrow. T cells mature in the thymus gland, small intestine, and in the skin. Autoimmune Diseases Autoimmune diseases result when the body is attacked by its immune system. They often appear in individuals that have recovered from other infections. Somehow the body seems to have learned to recognize itself (its own antigens). Examples Myasthenia gravis - neuromuscular junctions are weakened Multiple sclerosis - the myelin sheath of nerve fibers is attacked

Lupus erythematosus - Lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease. The skin, joints, kidneys and blood are most often affected but other organs may be affected as well. Rheumatoid arthritis - the membranes that surround the joints are attacked Summary of Leukocytes Nonspecific response Mast cells - secrete histamine Neutrophils - participate in inflammatory response; phagocytize Monocytes - become macrophages which phagocytize; produce white blood cell growth factor Specific Immune Response B-lymphocytes give rise to plasma cells that produce antibodies give rise to more B lymphocytes (also called memory B lymphocytes) T-lymphocytes Cytotoxic T cells - attack cells that bear antigens Helper T cells - secrete lymphokines which enhances the response of other immune cells Suppresser T cells - suppress helper T cells and B cells Memory T cells - remain after the infection and produce the 4 kinds of T cells if activated. %20102%20lectures/Immune%20System/lymphati.htm

Introductory Anatomy: Digestive System Dr D.R.Johnson, Centre for Human Biology Purpose The digestive system prepares food for use by hundreds of millions of body cells. Food when eaten cannot reach cells (because it cannot pass through the intestinal walls to the bloodstream and, if it could would not be in a useful chemical state. The gut modifies food physically and chemically and disposes of unusable waste. Physical and chemical modification (digestion) depends on exocrine and endocrine secretions and controlled movement of food through the digestive tract. Mouth Mouth Food enters the digestive system via the mouth or oral cavity, mucous membrane lined. The lips (labia) protect its outer opening, cheeks form lateral walls, hard palate and soft palate form anterior/posterior roof. Communication with nasal cavity behind soft palate. Floor is muscular tongue. Tongue has bony attachments (styloid process, hyoid bone) attached to floor of mouth by frenulum. Posterior exit from mouth guarded by a ring of palatine/lingual tonsils. Enlargement = sore throat, tonsillitis. Food is first processed (bitten off) by teeth, especially the anterior incisors. Suitably sized portions then retained in closed mouth and chewed or masticated (especially by cheek teeth, premolars, molars) aided by saliva Ducted salivary glands open at various points into mouth. This process involves teeth (muscles of mastication move jaws) and tongue (extrinsic and intrinsic muscles). Mechanical breakdown, plus some chemical (ptyalin, enzyme in saliva). Taste buds allow appreciation, also sample potential hazards (chemicals, toxins) Swallowing In leaving the mouth a bolus of food must cross the respiratory tract (trachea is anterior to oesophagus) by a complicated mechanism known as swallowing or deglutination which empties the mouth and ensures that food does not enter the windpipe. Swallowing involves co-ordinated activity of tongue, soft palate pharynx and oesophagus. The first (buccal) phase is voluntary, food being forced into the pharynx by the tongue. After this the process is reflex. The tongue blocks the mouth, soft palate closes off the nose and the larynx rises so that the epiglottis closes off the trachea. Food thus moves into the pharynx and onwards by peristalsis aided by gravity. If we try to talk whilst swallowing food may enter the respiratory passages and a cough reflex expels the bolus. Oesophagus The oesophagus (about 10") is the first part of the digestive tract proper and shares its distinctive structure. Basic tissue layers of the gut are 1. mucosa. Innermost, moist lining membrane. Epithelium (friction resistant stratified squamous in oesophagus, simple beyond) plus a little connective tissue and smooth muscle. 2. submucosa. Soft connective tissue layer, blood vessels, nerves, lymphatics 3. muscularis externa. Typically circular inner layer, longitudinal outer layer of smooth muscle 4. serosal fluid producing single layer.

Stomach C shaped, left side abdominal cavity (because liver is on right). Cardioesophageal sphincter guarding entrance from oesophagus is of doubtful anatomical integrity (though functionally the diaphragmatic pinch cock serves). Pyloric sphincter guarding the outlet is much better defined. Fundus, body and pylorus recognised as distinct regions. Stomach secretes both acid and mucus (for self protection). Surface area increased by rugae. Serves as a temporary store for food which is also churned by muscular layers (three here) to form chyme, creamy substance voided via pyloric sphincter to duodenum Duodenum First part of small intestine. C shaped 10" long and curves around head of pancreas and entry of common bile duct (accessory organs of digestion, pancreas, liver see below). Chemical degradation of small controlled amounts of food controlled by pyloric sphincter begins here, enzymes secreted by pancreas and duodenum itself aided by emulsifying bile (which also lowers pH). Duodenal ulcers caused by squirting of acid stomach contents into duodenal wall opposite sphincter. Small Intestine Jejunum (8 feet) and ileum (12 feet) continue degenerative process. Surface area increased by plica circulares (circular folds) carrying villi: cells of villi carry microvilli. Each villus has a capillary and a lacteal (lymphatic capillary) Absorption of digested foodstuffs is via these to the rich venous and capillary drainage of the gut. Towards the end of the small intestine accumulations of lymphoid tissue (Peyer's patches) more common. Undigested residue of food is rich in bacteria. Large Intestine Jejunum terminates at caecum. Caecum is small saclike evagination, important in some animals as a repository for bacteria/other organisms able to digest cellulose. A blind ending appendix may give trouble (appendicitis) if infected. The large intestine has three longitudinal muscle bands (taenia coli) with bulges in the wall (haustra) between them. These may evaginate in the elderly to become diverticuli and infected in diverticulitis. The large intestine resorbs water then eliminates drier residues as faeces. Regions recognised are the ascending colon, from appendix in right groin up to a flexure at the liver, transverse colon, liver to spleen, descending colon, spleen to left groin, then sigmoid (S-shaped) colon back to midline and anus. Anus has voluntary and involuntary sphincter and ability to distinguish whether contents are gas or solid. No villi in large intestine, but many goblet cells secreting lubricative mucus. Accessory digestive organs Salivary glands Three pairs, parotid, submandibular, sublingual. Mumps begins as infective parotitis in the parotid glands in the cheek. The others open into the floor of the mouth. Saliva is a mixture of mucus and serous fluids, each produced to various extents in various glands. Also contains

salivary amylase, (starts to break down starch) lysozyme (antibacterial) and IgA antibodies. In some mammals (and snakes!) saliva may be poisonous, quietening down living prey. Pancreas Endocrine and exocrine gland. Exocrine part produces many enzymes which enter the duodenum via the pancreatic duct. Endocrine part produces insulin, blood sugar regulator. Liver and gallbladder Bile, a watery greenish fluid is produced by the liver and secreted via the hepatic duct and cystic duct to the gall bladder for storage, and thence on demand via the common bile duct to an opening near the pancreatic duct in the duodenum. It contains bile salts, bile pigments (mainly bilerubin, essentially the non-iron part of haemoglobin) cholesterol and phospholipids. Bile salts and phospholipds emulsify fats, the rest are just being excreted. Gallstones are usually cholesterol based, may block the hepatic or common bile ducts causing pain, jaundice. Liver Multifunctional: important in this context since the capillaries of the small intestine drain fat and other nutrient rich lymph into it via the hepatic portal system.

What is the Skeletal System? Your Skeletal system is all of the bones in the body and the tissues such as tendons, ligaments and cartilage that connect them. Your teeth are also considered part of your skeletal system but they are not counted as bones. Your teeth are made of enamel and dentin. Enamel is the strongest substance in your body. How does the Skeletal System help us? Support The main job of the skeleton is to provide support for our body. Without your skeleton your body would collapse into a heap. Your skeleton is strong but light. Without bones you'd be just a puddle of skin and guts on the floor. Protection Your skeleton also helps protect your internal organs and fragile body tissues. The brain, eyes, heart, lungs and spinal cord are all protected by your skeleton. Your cranium (skull) protects your brain and eyes, the ribs protect your heart and lungs and your vertebrae (spine, backbones) protect your spinal cord. Movement Bones provide the structure for muscles to attach so that our bodies are able to move. Tendons are tough inelastic bands that hold attach muscle to bone. Who has more bones a baby or an adult? Babies have more than adults! At birth, you have about 300 bones. As you grow older, small bones join together to make big ones. Adults end up with about 206 bones. Are bones alive? Absolutely. Old bones are dead, dry and brittle. But in the body, bones are very much alive. They have their own nerves and blood vessels, and they do various jobs, such as storing body minerals like calcium. Bones are made of a mix of hard stuff that gives them strength and tons of living cells which help them grow and repair themselves.


What is a bone made of? A typical bone has an outer layer of hard or compact bone, which is very strong, dense and tough. Inside this is a layer of spongy bone, which is like honeycomb, lighter and slightly flexible. In the middle of some bones is jelly-like bone marrow, where new cells are constantly being produced for the blood. Calcium is an important mineral that bone cells need to stay strong so keep drinking that low-fat milk! How do bones break and heal? Bones are tough and usually don't break even when we have some pretty bad falls. I'm sure you have broken a big stick at one time. When you first try to break the stick it bends a bit but with enough force the stick finally snaps. It is the same with your bones. Bones will bend a little, but if you fall the wrong way from some playground equipment or maybe your bike or skateboard you can break a bone. Doctors call a broken bone a fracture. There are many different types of fractures. Luckily, bones are made of living cells. When a bone is broken your bone will produce lots of new cells to rebuild the bone. These cells cover both ends of the broken part of the bone and close up the break. How do I keep my bones healthy? Bones need regular exercise to stay as strong as possible. Walking, jogging, running and other physical activities are important in keeping your bones strong and healthy. Riding your bike, basketball, soccer, gymnastics, baseball, dancing, skateboarding and other activities are all good for your bones. Make sure you wear or use the proper equipment like a helmet, kneepads, shin guards, mats, knee pads, etc... to keep those bones safe. Strengthen your skeleton by drinking milk and eating other dairy products (like low-fat cheese, frozen yogurt, and ice cream). They all contain calcium, which helps bones harden and become strong.


The human body contains more than 650 individual muscles which are attached to the skeleton, which provides the pulling power for us to move around. The main job of the muscular system is to provide movement for the body. The muscular system consist of three different types of muscle tissues : skeletal, cardiac, smooth. Each of these different tissues has the ability to contract, which then allows body movements and functions. There are two types of muscles in the system and they are the involuntary muscles, and the voluntary muscles. The muscle in which we are allow to control by ourselves are called the voluntary muscles and the ones we can? control are the involuntary muscles. The heart, or the cardiac muscle, is an example of involuntary muscle. CARDIAC MUSCLE: The cardiac muscles is the muscle of the heart itself. The cardiac muscle is the tissue that makes up the wall of the heart called the mydocardium. Also like the skeletal muscles, the cardiac muscle is striated and contracts through the sliding filament method. However it is different from other types of muscles because it forms branching fibers. Unlike the skeletal muscles, the cardiac muscle is attached together instead of been attach to a bone. SKELETAL MUSCLE: The skeletal muscle makes up about 40 % of an adults body weight. It has stripe-like markings, or striations. The skeletal muscles is composed of long muscle fibers. Each of these muscles fiber is a cell which contains several nuclei. The nervous system controls the contraction of the muscle. Many of the skeletal muscle contractions are automatic. However we still can control the action of the skeletal muscle. And it is because of this reason that the skeletal muscle is also called voluntary muscle. SMOOTH MUSCLE: Much of our internal organs is made up of smooth muscles. They are found in the urinary bladder, gallbladder, arteries, and veins. Also the digestive tract is made up of smooth muscle as well. The smooth muscles are controlled by the nervous system and hormones. We cannot consciously control the smooth muscle that is why they are often called involuntary muscles.

Nervous tissue is composed of two main cell types: neurons and glial cells. Neurons transmit nerve messages. Glial cells are in direct contact with neurons and often surround them.

Nerve Cells and Astrocyte (SEM x2,250). This image is copyright Dennis Kunkel at, used with permission. The neuron is the functional unit of the nervous system. Humans have about 100 billion neurons in their brain alone! While variable in size and shape, all neurons have three parts. Dendrites receive information from another cell and transmit the message to the cell body. The cell body contains the nucleus, mitochondria and other organelles typical of eukaryotic cells. The axon conducts messages away from the cell body.

Structure of a typical neuron. The above image is from Three types of neurons occur. Sensory neurons typically have a long dendrite and short axon, and carry messages from sensory receptors to the central nervous system. Motor neurons have a long axon and short dendrites and transmit messages from the central nervous system to the muscles (or to glands). Interneurons are found only in the central nervous system where they connect neuron to neuron.

Structure of a neuron and the direction of nerve message transmission. Image from Purves et al., Life: The Science of Biology, 4th Edition, by Sinauer Associates ( and WH Freeman (, used with permission. Some axons are wrapped in a myelin sheath formed from the plasma membranes of specialized glial cells known as Schwann cells. Schwann cells serve as supportive, nutritive, and service facilities for neurons. The gap between Schwann cells is known as the node of Ranvier, and serves as points along the neuron for generating a signal. Signals jumping from node to node travel hundreds of times faster than signals traveling along the surface of the axon. This allows your brain to communicate with your toes in a few thousandths of a second.

Cross section of myelin sheaths that surround axons (TEM x191,175). This image is copyright Dennis Kunkel at, used with permission.

Structure of a nerve bundle. Image from Purves et al., Life: The Science of Biology, 4th Edition, by Sinauer Associates ( and WH Freeman (, used with permission. The Nerve Message | Back to Top The plasma membrane of neurons, like all other cells, has an unequal distribution of ions and electrical charges between the two sides of the membrane. The outside of the membrane has a positive charge, inside has a negative charge. This charge difference is a resting potential and is measured in millivolts. Passage of ions across the cell membrane passes the electrical charge along the cell. The voltage potential is -65mV (millivolts) of a cell at rest (resting potential). Resting potential results from differences between sodium and potassium positively charged ions and negatively charged ions in the cytoplasm. Sodium ions are more concentrated outside the membrane, while potassium ions are more concentrated inside the membrane. This imbalance is maintained by the active transport of ions to reset the membrane known as the sodium potassium pump. The sodium-potassium pump maintains this unequal concentration by actively transporting ions against their concentration gradients.

Transmission of an action potential. The above image is from Changed polarity of the membrane, the action potential, results in propagation of the nerve impulse along the membrane. An action potential is a temporary reversal of the electrical potential along the membrane for a few milliseconds. Sodium gates and potassium gates open in the membrane to allow their respective ions to cross. Sodium and potassium ions reverse positions by passing through membrane protein channel gates that can be opened or closed to control ion passage. Sodium crosses first. At the height of the membrane potential reversal, potassium channels open to allow potassium ions to pass to the outside of the membrane.

Potassium crosses second, resulting in changed ionic distributions, which must be reset by the continuously running sodium-potassium pump. Eventually enough potassium ions pass to the outside to restore the membrane charges to those of the original resting potential.The cell begins then to pump the ions back to their original sides of the membrane. The action potential begins at one spot on the membrane, but spreads to adjacent areas of the membrane, propagating the message along the length of the cell membrane. After passage of the action potential, there is a brief period, the refractory period, during which the membrane cannot be stimulated. This prevents the message from being transmitted backward along the membrane. Steps in an Action Potential 1. At rest the outside of the membrane is more positive than the inside. 2. Sodium moves inside the cell causing an action potential, the influx of positive sodium ions makes the inside of the membrane more positive than the outside. 3. Potassium ions flow out of the cell, restoring the resting potential net charges. 4. Sodium ions are pumped out of the cell and potassium ions are pumped into the cell, restoring the original distribution of ions. Synapses The junction between a nerve cell and another cell is called a synapse. Messages travel within the neuron as an electrical action potential. The space between two cells is known as the synaptic cleft. To cross the synaptic cleft requires the actions of neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are stored in small synaptic vessicles clustered at the tip of the axon.

A synapse. Image from Purves et al., Life: The Science of Biology, 4th Edition, by Sinauer Associates ( and WH Freeman (, used with permission.

Excitatory Synapse from the Central Nervous System (TEM x27,360). This image is copyright Dennis Kunkel at, used with permission. Arrival of the action potential causes some of the vesicles to move to the end of the axon and discharge their contents into the synaptic cleft. Released neurotransmitters diffuse across the cleft, and bind to receptors on the other cell's membrane, causing ion channels on that cell to open. Some neurotransmitters cause an action potential, others are inhibitory. Neurotransmitters tend to be small molecules, some are even hormones. The time for neurotransmitter action is between 0,5 and 1 millisecond. Neurotransmitters are either destroyed by specific enzymes in the synaptic cleft, diffuse out of the cleft, or are reabsorbed by the cell. More than 30 organic molecules are thought to act as neurotransmitters. The neurotransmitters cross the cleft, binding to receptor molecules on the next cell, prompting transmission of the message along that cell's membrane. Acetylcholine is an example of a neurotransmitter, as is norepinephrine, although each acts in different responses. Once in the cleft, neurotransmitters are active for only a short time. Enzymes in the cleft inactivate the neurotransmitters. Inactivated neurotransmitters are taken back into the axon and recycled. Diseases that affect the function of signal transmission can have serious consequences. Parkinson's disease has a deficiency of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Progressive death of

brain cells increases this deficit, causing tremors, rigidity and unstable posture. L-dopa is a chemical related to dopamine that eases some of the symptoms (by acting as a substitute neurotransmitter) but cannot reverse the progression of the disease. The bacterium Clostridium tetani produces a toxin that prevents the release of GABA. GABA is important in control of skeletal muscles. Without this control chemical, regulation of muscle contraction is lost; it can be fatal when it effects the muscles used in breathing. Clostridium botulinum produces a toxin found in improperly canned foods. This toxin causes the progressive relaxation of muscles, and can be fatal. A wide range of drugs also operate in the synapses: cocaine, LSD, caffeine, and insecticides. Nervous Systems | Back to Top Multicellular animals must monitor and maintain a constant internal environment as well as monitor and respond to an external environment. In many animals, these two functions are coordinated by two integrated and coordinated organ systems: the nervous system and the endocrine system. Click here for a diagram of the Nervous System. Three basic functions are prformed by nervous systems: 1. Receive sensory input from internal and external environments 2. Integrate the input 3. Respond to stimuli Sensory Input Receptors are parts of the nervous system that sense changes in the internal or external environments. Sensory input can be in many forms, including pressure, taste, sound, light, blood pH, or hormone levels, that are converted to a signal and sent to the brain or spinal cord. Integration and Output In the sensory centers of the brain or in the spinal cord, the barrage of input is integrated and a response is generated. The response, a motor output, is a signal transmitted to organs than can convert the signal into some form of action, such as movement, changes in heart rate, release of hormones, etc. Endocrine Systems Some animals have a second control system, the endocrine system. The nervous system coordinates rapid responses to external stimuli. The endocrine system controls slower, longer lasting responses to internal stimuli. Activity of both systems is integrated. Divisions of the Nervous System The nervous system monitors and controls almost every organ system through a series of positive and negative feedback loops.The Central Nervous System (CNS) includes the brain

and spinal cord. The Peripheral Nervous System (PNS) connects the CNS to other parts of the body, and is composed of nerves (bundles of neurons). Not all animals have highly specialized nervous systems. Those with simple systems tend to be either small and very mobile or large and immobile. Large, mobile animals have highly developed nervous systems: the evolution of nervous systems must have been an important adaptation in the evolution of body size and mobility. Coelenterates, cnidarians, and echinoderms have their neurons organized into a nerve net. These creatures have radial symmetry and lack a head. Although lacking a brain or either nervous system (CNS or PNS) nerve nets are capable of some complex behavior.

Nervous systems in radially symmetrical animals. Image from Purves et al., Life: The Science of Biology, 4th Edition, by Sinauer Associates ( and WH Freeman (, used with permission. Bilaterally symmetrical animals have a body plan that includes a defined head and a tail region. Development of bilateral symmetry is associated with cephalization, the development of a head with the accumulation of sensory organs at the front end of the organism. Flatworms have neurons associated into clusters known as ganglia, which in turn form a small brain. Vertebrates have a spinal cord in addition to a more developed brain.

Some nervous systems in bilaterally symmetrical animals. Image from Purves et al., Life: The Science of Biology, 4th Edition, by Sinauer Associates ( and WH Freeman (, used with permission. Chordates have a dorsal rather than ventral nervous system. Several evolutionary trends occur in chordates: spinal cord, continuation of cephalization in the form of larger and more complex brains, and development of a more elaborate nervous system. The vertebrate nervous system is divided into a number of parts. The central nervous system includes the brain and spinal cord. The peripheral nervous system consists of all body nerves. Motor neuron pathways are of two types: somatic (skeletal) and autonomic (smooth muscle, cardiac muscle, and glands). The autonomic system is subdivided into the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems. Peripheral Nervous System | Back to Top The Peripheral Nervous System (PNS)contains only nerves and connects the brain and spinal cord (CNS) to the rest of the body. The axons and dendrites are surrounded by a white myelin sheath. Cell bodies are in the central nervous system (CNS) or ganglia. Ganglia are collections of nerve cell bodies. Cranial nerves in the PNS take impulses to and from the brain (CNS). Spinal nerves take impulses to and away from the spinal cord. There are two major subdivisions of the PNS motor pathways: the somatic and the autonomic. Two main components of the PNS: 1. sensory (afferent) pathways that provide input from the body into the CNS. 2. motor (efferent) pathways that carry signals to muscles and glands (effectors).

Most sensory input carried in the PNS remains below the level of conscious awareness. Input that does reach the conscious level contributes to perception of our external environment. Somatic Nervous System | Back to Top The Somatic Nervous System (SNS) includes all nerves controlling the muscular system and external sensory receptors. External sense organs (including skin) are receptors. Muscle fibers and gland cells are effectors. The reflex arc is an automatic, involuntary reaction to a stimulus. When the doctor taps your knee with the rubber hammer, she/he is testing your reflex (or kneejerk). The reaction to the stimulus is involuntary, with the CNS being informed but not consciously controlling the response. Examples of reflex arcs include balance, the blinking reflex, and the stretch reflex. Sensory input from the PNS is processed by the CNS and responses are sent by the PNS from the CNS to the organs of the body. Motor neurons of the somatic system are distinct from those of the autonomic system. Inhibitory signals, cannot be sent through the motor neurons of the somatic system. Autonomic Nervous System | Back to Top The Autonomic Nervous System is that part of PNS consisting of motor neurons that control internal organs. It has two subsystems. The autonomic system controls muscles in the heart, the smooth muscle in internal organs such as the intestine, bladder, and uterus. The Sympathetic Nervous System is involved in the fight or flight response. The Parasympathetic Nervous System is involved in relaxation. Each of these subsystems operates in the reverse of the other (antagonism). Both systems innervate the same organs and act in opposition to maintain homeostasis. For example: when you are scared the sympathetic system causes your heart to beat faster; the parasympathetic system reverses this effect. Motor neurons in this system do not reach their targets directly (as do those in the somatic system) but rather connect to a secondary motor neuron which in turn innervates the target organ. Click here for a diagram of the Autonomic Nervous System. Central Nervous System | Back to Top The Central Nervous System (CNS) is composed of the brain and spinal cord. The CNS is surrounded by bone-skull and vertebrae. Fluid and tissue also insulate the brain and spinal cord.

Areas of the brain. The above image is from The brain is composed of three parts: the cerebrum (seat of consciousness), the cerebellum, and the medulla oblongata (these latter two are "part of the unconscious brain"). The medulla oblongata is closest to the spinal cord, and is involved with the regulation of heartbeat, breathing, vasoconstriction (blood pressure), and reflex centers for vomiting, coughing, sneezing, swallowing, and hiccuping. The hypothalamus regulates homeostasis. It has regulatory areas for thirst, hunger, body temperature, water balance, and blood pressure, and links the Nervous System to the Endocrine System. The midbrain and pons are also part of the unconscious brain. The thalamus serves as a central relay point for incoming nervous messages. The cerebellum is the second largest part of the brain, after the cerebrum. It functions for muscle coordination and maintains normal muscle tone and posture. The cerebellum coordinates balance. The conscious brain includes the cerebral hemispheres, which are are separated by the corpus callosum. In reptiles, birds, and mammals, the cerebrum coordinates sensory data and motor functions. The cerebrum governs intelligence and reasoning, learning and memory. While the cause of memory is not yet definitely known, studies on slugs indicate learning is accompanied by a synapse decrease. Within the cell, learning involves change in gene regulation and increased ability to secrete transmitters. The Brain | Back to Top During embryonic development, the brain first forms as a tube, the anterior end of which enlarges into three hollow swellings that form the brain, and the posterior of which develops into the spinal cord. Some parts of the brain have changed little during vertebrate evolutionary history. Click here to view an diagram of the brain, and here for a clickable map of the brain.

Parts of the brain as seen from the middle of the brain. Image from Purves et al., Life: The Science of Biology, 4th Edition, by Sinauer Associates ( and WH Freeman (, used with permission. Vertebrate evolutionary trends include 1. Increase in brain size relative to body size. 2. Subdivision and increasing specialization of the forebrain, midbrain, and hindbrain. 3. Growth in relative size of the forebrain, especially the cerebrum, which is associated with increasingly complex behavior in mammals. The Brain Stem and Midbrain The brain stem is the smallest and from an evolutionary viewpoint, the oldest and most primitive part of the brain. The brain stem is continuous with the spinal cord, and is composed of the parts of the hindbrain and midbrain. The medulla oblongata and pons control heart rate, constriction of blood vessels, digestion and respiration. The midbrain consists of connections between the hindbrain and forebrain. Mammals use this part of the brain only for eye reflexes. The Cerebellum The cerebellum is the third part of the hindbrain, but it is not considered part of the brain stem. Functions of the cerebellum include fine motor coordination and body movement, posture, and balance. This region of the brain is enlarged in birds and controls muscle action needed for flight.

The Forebrain The forebrain consists of the diencephalon and cerebrum. The thalamus and hypothalamus are the parts of the diencephalon. The thalamus acts as a switching center for nerve messages. The hypothalamus is a major homeostatic center having both nervous and endocrine functions. The cerebrum, the largest part of the human brain, is divided into left and right hemispheres connected to each other by the corpus callosum. The hemispheres are covered by a thin layer of gray matter known as the cerebral cortex, the most recently evolved region of the vertebrate brain. Fish have no cerebral cortex, amphibians and reptiles have only rudiments of this area. The cortex in each hemisphere of the cerebrum is between 1 and 4 mm thick. Folds divide the cortex into four lobes: occipital, temporal, parietal, and frontal. No region of the brain functions alone, although major functions of various parts of the lobes have been determined.

The major brain areas and lobes. Image from Purves et al., Life: The Science of Biology, 4th Edition, by Sinauer Associates ( and WH Freeman (, used with permission. The occipital lobe (back of the head) receives and processes visual information. The temporal lobe receives auditory signals, processing language and the meaning of words. The parietal lobe is associated with the sensory cortex and processes information about touch, taste, pressure, pain, and heat and cold. The frontal lobe conducts three functions: 1. motor activity and integration of muscle activity 2. speech

3. thought processes

Functional areas of the brain. Image from Purves et al., Life: The Science of Biology, 4th Edition, by Sinauer Associates ( and WH Freeman (, used with permission. Most people who have been studied have their language and speech areas on the left hemisphere of their brain. Language comprehension is found in Wernicke's area. Speaking ability is in Broca's area. Damage to Broca's area causes speech impairment but not impairment of language comprehension. Lesions in Wernicke's area impairs ability to comprehend written and spoken words but not speech. The remaining parts of the cortex are associated with higher thought processes, planning, memory, personality and other human activities.

Parts of the cerebral cortex and the relative areas that are devoted to controlling various body regions. Image from Purves et al., Life: The Science of Biology, 4th Edition, by Sinauer Associates ( and WH Freeman (, used with permission. The Spinal Cord | Back to Top The spinal cord runs along the dorsal side of the body and links the brain to the rest of the body. Vertebrates have their spinal cords encased in a series of (usually) bony vertebrae that comprise the vertebral column. The gray matter of the spinal cord consists mostly of cell bodies and dendrites. The surrounding white matter is made up of bundles of interneuronal axons (tracts). Some tracts are ascending (carrying messages to the brain), others are descending (carrying messages from the brain). The spinal cord is also involved in reflexes that do not immediately involve the brain. The Brain and Drugs | Back to Top Some neurotransmitters are excitory, such as acetylcholine, norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine. Some are associated with relaxation, such as dopamine and serotonin. Dopamine release seems related to sensations of pleasure. Endorphins are natural opioids that produce elation and reduction of pain, as do artificial chemicals such as opium and heroin. Neurological diseases, for example Parkinson's disease and Huntington's disease, are due to imbalances of neurotransmitters. Parkinson's is due to a dopamine deficiency. Huntington's disease is thought to be cause by malfunctioning of an inhibitory neurotransmitter. Alzheimer's disease is associated with protein plaques in the brain.

Drugs are stimulants or depressants that block or enhance certain neurotransmitters. Dopamine is thought involved with all forms of pleasure. Cocaine interferes with uptake of dopamine from the synaptic cleft. Alcohol causes a euphoric "high" followed by a depression. Marijuana, material from the Indian hemp plant (Cannabis sativa), has a potent chemical THC (tetrahydracannibinol) that in low, concentrations causes a euphoric high (if inhaled, the most common form of action is smoke inhalation). High dosages may cause severe effects such as hallucinations, anxiety, depression, and psychotic symptoms. Cocaine is derives from the plant Erthoxylon coca. Inhaled, smoked or injected. Cocaine users report a "rush" of euphoria following use. Following the rush is a short (5-30 minute) period of arousal followed by a depression. Repeated cycle of use terminate in a "crash" when the cocaine is gone. Prolonged used causes production of less dopamine, causing the user to need more of the drug. Heroin is a derivative of morphine, which in turn is obtained from opium, the milky secretions obtained from the opium poppy, Papaver somniferum. Heroin is usually injected intravenously, although snorting and smoking serve as alternative delivery methods. Heroin binds to ophioid receptors in the brain, where the natural chemical endorphins are involved in the cessation pain. Heroin is physically addictive, and prolonged use causes less endorphin production. Once this happens, the euphoria is no longer felt, only dependence and delay of withdrawal symptoms. Senses | Back to Top Input to the nervous system is in the form of our five senses: pain, vision, taste, smell, and hearing. Vision, taste, smell, and hearing input are the special senses. Pain, temperature, and pressure are known as somatic senses. Sensory input begins with sensors that react to stimuli in the form of energy that is transmitted into an action potential and sent to the CNS. Sensory Receptors

Sensory receptors are classified according to the type of energy they can detect and respond to. Mechanoreceptors: hearing and balance, stretching. Photoreceptors: light. Chemoreceptors: smell and taste mainly, as well as internal sensors in the digestive and circulatory systems. Thermoreceptors: changes in temperature. Electroreceptors: detect electrical currents in the surrounding environment.

Mechanoreceptors vary greatly in the specific type of stimulus and duration of stimulus/action potentials. The most adaptable vertebrate mechanoreceptor is the hair cell. Hair cells are present in the lateral line of fish. In humans and mammals hair cells are involved with detection of sound and gravity and providing balance. Hearing Hearing involves the actions of the external ear, eardrum, ossicles, and cochlea. In hearing, sound waves in air are converted into vibrations of a liquid then into movement of hair cells in the cochlea. Finally they are converted into action potentials in a sensory dendrite connected to

the auditory nerve. Very loud sounds can cause violent vibrations in the membrane under hair cells, causing a shearing or permanent distortion to the cells, resulting in permanent hearing loss. Orientation and Gravity Orientation and gravity are detected at the semicircular canals. Hair cells along three planes respond to shifts of liquid within the cochlea, providing a three-dimensional sense of equilibrium. Calcium carbonate crystals can shift in response to gravity, providing sensory information about gravity and acceleration. Photoreceptors Detect Vision and Light Sensitivity The human eye can detect light in the 400-700 nanometer (nm) range, a small portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, the visible light spectrum. Light with wavelengths shorter than 400 nm is termed ultraviolet (UV) light. Light with wavelengths longer than 700 nm is termed infrared (IR) light.

The electromagnetic spectrum. Image from Purves et al., Life: The Science of Biology, 4th Edition, by Sinauer Associates ( and WH Freeman (, used with permission. Eye In the eye, two types of photoreceptor cells are clustered on the retina, or back portion of the eye. These receptors, rods and cones, apparently evolved from hair cells. Rods detect differences in light intensity; cones detect color. Rods are more common in a circular zone near the edge of the eye. Cones occur in the center (or fovea centralis) of the retina.

Light reaching a photoreceptor causes the breakdown of the chemical rhodopsin, which in turn causes a membrane potential that is transmitted to an action potential. The action potential transfers to synapsed neurons that connect to the optic nerve. The optic nerve connects to the occipital lobe of the brain. Humans have three types of cones, each sensitive to a different color of light: red, blue and green. Opsins are chemicals that bind to cone cells and make those cells sensitive to light of a particular wavelength (or color). Humans have three different form of opsins coded for by three genes on the X chromosome. Defects in one or more of these opsin genes can cause color blindness, usually in males. Text 1992, 1994, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, by M.J. Farabee Endocrine System Introduction The endocrine system is made up of glands that produce and secrete hormones. These hormones regulate the body's growth, metabolism (the physical and chemical processes of the body), and sexual development and function. The hormones are released into the bloodstream and may affect one or several organs throughout the body. Hormones are chemical messengers created by the body. They transfer information from one set of cells to another to coordinate the functions of different parts of the body. The major glands of the endocrine system are the hypothalamus, pituitary, thyroid, parathyroids, adrenals, pineal body, and the reproductive organs (ovaries and testes). The pancreas is also a part of this system; it has a role in hormone production as well as in digestion. The endocrine system is regulated by feedback in much the same way that a thermostat regulates the temperature in a room. For the hormones that are regulated by the pituitary gland, a signal is sent from the hypothalamus to the pituitary gland in the form of a "releasing hormone," which stimulates the pituitary to secrete a "stimulating hormone" into the circulation. The stimulating hormone then signals the target gland to secrete its hormone. As the level of this hormone rises in the circulation, the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland shut down secretion of the releasing hormone and the stimulating hormone, which in turn slows the secretion by the target gland. This system results in stable blood concentrations of the hormones that are regulated by the pituitary gland. Hormones Regulated by the Hypothalamic/Pituitary System Pituitary Stimulating Hormone Hypothalamic Releasing Hormone Hormone Thyroid-stimulating hormone Thyroid hormones T4, T3 Thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) (TSH) Adrenocorticotropin Cortisol Corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) hormone (ACTH) Follicle-stimulating hormone Luteinizing hormone-releasing Estrogen or testosterone (FSH), luteinizing hormone hormone (LHRH) or gonadotropin(LH) releasing hormone (GnRH) Insulinlike growth factor-I Growth hormone-releasing hormone Growth hormone (IGF-I) (GHRH)

Illustration of the endocrine system.

Your cardiovascular system is your:

heart blood vessels arteries, veins and capillaries (small blood vessels) blood

How does your cardiovascular system work? Oxygen makes up about a fifth of the atmosphere. You breathe air through your mouth and nose and it travels to your lungs. Oxygen from the air is absorbed into your bloodstream through your lungs. Your heart then pumps oxygen-rich ('oxygenated') blood through a network of blood vessels the arteries to tissues including your organs, muscles and nerves, all around your body. When blood reaches the capillaries in your tissues it releases oxygen, which cells use to make energy. These cells release waste products, such as carbon dioxide and water, which your blood absorbs and carries away. The used (or 'deoxygenated') blood then travels along your veins and back towards your heart. Your heart pumps the deoxygenated blood back to your lungs, where it absorbs fresh oxygen, and the cycle starts again. The heart Your heart is roughly the size of a clenched fist and weighs about 300g. It lies just to the left in your chest, surrounded by a protective membrane called the pericardium. Your heart is a pump, divided into left and right sides. It has walls, made of muscle, which squeeze (contract) to pump blood into the blood vessels and around your body. You have around 8 pints of blood in your body, and in an average day your heart beats 100,000 times to keep the blood moving around your body. Your veins deliver deoxygenated blood to the right side of your heart. Your heart pumps this blood back to your lungs, where it absorbs more oxygen. This oxygenated blood then returns to the left side of your heart, which pumps it out to the rest of your body through the arteries. The muscle on the left side of your heart is slightly larger because it has more work to do than the right: the right side only pumps blood to your lungs, the left side pumps blood around your body. Each side of your heart is divided into an upper chamber called an atrium and a larger, lower chamber, called a ventricle. Blood flows from each atrium to the ventricle below, through a oneway valve.

The main organs, arteries and veins in the cardiovascular system The lungs Your lungs are on either side of your heart in your chest (thorax) and consist of spongy tissue with a rich blood supply. Your diaphragm is a sheet of muscle that separates your chest from your abdominal cavity and forms the floor of your thorax. Movement of your diaphragm as you breathe in makes your lungs inflate. Air passes from your nose and mouth into your trachea (windpipe) and into each lung, through two airways called the bronchi. These divide into smaller airways, called bronchioles, which repeatedly divide and end in tiny sacs called alveoli. These are air sacs with walls just one cell thick. It's here that oxygen and carbon dioxide filter into and out of your blood. In this process, known as gaseous exchange, molecules of oxygen and carbon dioxide bind to the haemoglobin, a protein in your red blood cells.

There are about 300 million alveoli in each lung, which provide a vast surface area for gaseous exchange around the size of a tennis court if it could be spread out. In an average day, you breathe 10,000 litres of air in and out of your lungs. Blood pressure Blood carrying oxygen and nutrients is pumped around your body by your heart. The blood is under pressure as a result of the pumping action of your heart and the size and flexibility of your arteries. This blood pressure is an essential part of the way your body works. When blood pressure is measured, the result is expressed as two numbers, such as 120/80mmHg (one hundred and twenty over eighty millimetres of mercury). The first figure the systolic blood pressure is a measure of the pressure when your heart muscle is contracted and pumping blood. This is the maximum pressure in your blood vessels. The second figure the diastolic blood pressure is the pressure between heart beats when your heart is resting and filling with blood. This is the minimum pressure in your blood vessels. The lower your blood pressure, the better for your health, although very low blood pressure can make you feel dizzy or faint. Doctors recommend that blood pressure is kept below 140/85. If you have diabetes, kidney disease or cardiovascular disease, your blood pressure should be lower than this ideally less than 130/80. Your cardiovascular health Your lifestyle plays an essential part in maintaining your long-term cardiovascular health. A healthy diet, moderate drinking, plenty of exercise, and not smoking can all help to maintain a healthy cardiovascular system.

Humans can't live without blood. Without blood, the body's organs couldn't get the oxygen and nutrients they need to survive, we couldn't keep warm or cool off, fight infections, or get rid of our own waste products. Without enough blood, we'd weaken and die. Here are the basics about the mysterious, life-sustaining fluid called blood. Blood Basics Two types of blood vessels carry blood throughout our bodies: 1. Arteries carry oxygenated blood (blood that has received oxygen from the lungs) from the heart to the rest of the body. 2. Blood then travels through veins back to the heart and lungs, where it receives more oxygen. As the heart beats, you can feel blood traveling through the body at pulse points like the neck and the wrist where large, blood-filled arteries run close to the surface of the skin. The blood that flows through this network of veins and arteries is whole blood, which contains three types of blood cells: 1. red blood cells (RBCs) 2. white blood cells (WBCs) 3. platelets In babies and young kids, blood cells are made within the bone marrow (the soft tissue inside of bones) of many bones throughout the body. But, as kids get older, blood cells are made mostly in the bone marrow of the vertebrae (the bones of the spine), ribs, pelvis, skull, sternum (the breastbone), and parts of the humerus (the upper arm bone) and femur (the thigh bone). The cells travel through the circulatory system suspended in a yellowish fluid called plasma, which is 90% water and contains nutrients, proteins, hormones, and waste products. Whole blood is a mixture of blood cells and plasma. Continue

Systemic Circulation: It's All Throughout the Body Systemic circulation supplies nourishment to all of the tissue located throughout your body, with the exception of the heart and lungs because they have their own systems. Systemic circulation is a major part of the overall circulatory system. The blood vessels (arteries, veins, and capillaries) are responsible for the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the tissue. Oxygen-rich blood enters the blood vessels through the heart's main artery called the aorta. The forceful contraction of the heart's left ventricle forces the blood into the aorta which then branches into many smaller arteries which run throughout the body. The inside layer of an artery is very smooth, allowing the blood to flow quickly. The outside layer of an artery is very strong, allowing the blood to flow forcefully. The oxygen-rich blood enters the capillaries where the oxygen and nutrients are released. The waste products are collected and the waste-rich blood flows into the veins in order to circulate back to the heart where pulmonary circulation will allow the exchange of gases in the lungs. During systemic circulation, blood passes through the kidneys. This phase of systemic circulation is known as renal circulation. During this phase, the kidneys filter much of the waste from the blood. Blood also passes through the small intestine during systemic circulation. This phase is known as portal circulation. During this phase, the blood from the small intestine collects in the portal vein which passes through the liver. The liver filters sugars from the blood, storing them for later.

Respiratory System: Oxygen Delivery System The primary function of the respiratory system is to supply the blood with oxygen in order for the blood to deliver oxygen to all parts of the body. The respiratory system does this through breathing. When we breathe, we inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. This exchange of gases is the respiratory system's means of getting oxygen to the blood. Respiration is achieved through the mouth, nose, trachea, lungs, and diaphragm. Oxygen enters the respiratory system through the mouth and the nose. The oxygen then passes through the larynx (where speech sounds are produced) and the trachea which is a tube that enters the chest cavity. In the chest cavity, the trachea splits into two smaller tubes called the bronchi. Each bronchus then divides again forming the bronchial tubes. The bronchial tubes lead directly into the lungs where they divide into many smaller tubes which connect to tiny sacs called alveoli. The average adult's lungs contain about 600 million of these spongy, air-filled sacs that are surrounded by capillaries. The inhaled oxygen passes into the alveoli and then diffuses through the capillaries into the arterial blood. Meanwhile, the waste-rich blood from the veins releases its carbon dioxide into the alveoli. The carbon dioxide follows the same path out of the lungs when you exhale. The diaphragm's job is to help pump the carbon dioxide out of the lungs and pull the oxygen into the lungs. The diaphragm is a sheet of muscles that lies across the bottom of the chest cavity. As the diaphragm contracts and relaxes, breathing takes place. When the diaphragm contracts,

oxygen is pulled into the lungs. When the diaphragm relaxes, carbon dioxide is pumped out of the lungs. Pulmonary Circulation: It's All in the Lungs

Pulmonary circulation is the movement of blood from the heart, to the lungs, and back to the heart again. This is just one phase of the overall circulatory system. The veins bring waste-rich blood back to the heart, entering the right atrium throughout two large veins called vena cavae. The right atrium fills with the waste-rich blood and then contracts, pushing the blood through a one-way valve into the right ventricle. The right ventricle fills and then contracts, pushing the blood into the pulmonary artery which leads to the lungs. In the lung capillaries, the exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen takes place. The fresh, oxygen-rich blood enters the pulmonary veins and then returns to the heart, re-entering through the left atrium. The oxygen-rich blood then passes through a one-way valve into the left ventricle where it will exit the heart through the main artery, called the aorta. The left ventricle's contraction forces the blood into the aorta and the blood begins its journey throughout the body. The one-way valves are important for preventing any backward flow of blood. The circulatory system is a network of one-way streets. If blood started flowing the wrong way, the blood gases (oxygen and carbon dioxide) might mix, causing a serious threat to your body. You can use a stethoscope to hear pulmonary circulation. The two sounds you hear, "lub" and "dub," are the ventricles contracting and the valves closing. Coronary Circulation: It's All in the Heart While the circulatory system is busy providing oxygen and nourishment to every cell of the body, let's not forget that the heart, which works hardest of all, needs nourishment, too. Coronary circulation refers to the movement of blood through the tissues of the heart. The circulation of blood through the heart is just one part of the overall circulatory system.

CLICK to enlarge: The illustration above shows the circulation of blood through the heart itself. Serious heart damage may occur if the heart tissue does not receive a normal supply of food and oxygen. The heart tissue receives nourishment through the capillaries located in the heart. Excretory System: Poison Protection If you knew there was poison hidden in your house, you would surely do everything possible to find and remove that poison. If you didn't, you and your family would slowly die. How would you find it? How would you remove it? You would probably figure out a system of searching and removing. That would be an excretory system. Your body does the same thing every day. Hidden throughout your body are dangerous poisons that must be removed in order for it to survive. The process of excretion involves finding and removing waste materials produced by the body. The primary organs of excretion are the lungs, kidneys, and skin. Waste gases are carried by blood traveling through the veins to the lungs where respiration takes place. Dead cells and sweat are removed from the body through the skin which is part of the integumentary system. Liquid waste is removed from the body through the kidneys. Located beside the spine in your back within your ribcage, the kidneys are small (about 10 centimeters long) reddish-brown organs that are shaped like beans. During circulation, blood passes through the kidneys in order to deposit used and unwanted water, minerals, and a nitrogen-rich molecule called urea. The kidneys filter the wastes from the blood, forming a liquid called urine. The kidneys funnel the urine into the bladder along two separate tubes called ureters. The bladder stores the urine until muscular contractions force the urine out of the body through the urethra. Each day, your kidneys produce about 1.5 liters of urine. All of it needs to be removed from your system. This occurs through urination. If your kidneys are diseased and not working properly, the buildup of waste in your system will eventually lead to death. Some kidney diseases can be treated with medication. Severe kidney diseases require more intense treatment. One treatment is called dialysis. The patient's blood is pumped through a dialysis machine which filters the waste from the blood and returns the clean blood. A dialysis patient has to spend nearly sixty hours each week attached to the machine.

The most radical treatment for kidney disease is a kidney transplant. Healthy people can live comfortably with only one kidney. Therefore, their other kidney can be donated to a person with kidney disease. The donor and patient must have very similar genetic structures in order for the patient to accept the new kidney without complications. The patient also receives anti-rejection drugs. During a kidney transplant operation, the healthy kidney is placed in the abdomen of the patient and attached to the blood vessels and bladder. The patient's original kidneys are not removed. Integumentary System: Cutting Dead Cells The body's integumentary system supports the excretory system in the removal of waste. Skin, hair, fingernails and toenails make up the system by which surface level wastes are removed. The skin protects the body and also provides for the removal of dead cells and sweat, which contains waste products. Hair, fingernails and toenails are actually accumulations of dead epidermal cells. As more cells die and need to be removed, the hair and nails grow.

Physiology: Physiology is the science of body functions; it is the study of mechanical, physical and biochemical properties of living organisms. Physiology incorporates a significant amount of anatomy; anatomy is the science of body structures and their inter-relationships. Levels of organization of the human body:

Chemical - made up of atoms and molecules Cell - are basic structural and functional units of an organism. There are many different types of cells in the body including: nerve cells, blood cells, muscle cells and fat cells. Tissue - groups of cells & the surrounding environment that work together to produce a specific function. There are only four types of tissues in the body: epithelial tissue, connective tissue, muscle tissue and nervous tissue. Organ organs are structures that are made of two or more different types of tissues, they have specific functions & a defined shape. The heart is an example of an organ; it is made of muscle, connective, & nervous tissue. The tissues work in concert to move blood through the body.

System - consists of related organs that have a common function, there are eleven organ systems in the body: 1. The Integumentary System: includes the skin & derived structures, it protects internal organs & helps maintain body temperature.

2. The Skeletal System: includes the bones & joints, it provides support & protection to internal organs.

3. The Muscular System: includes skeletal muscle and it provides movement.

4. The Nervous System: includes the brain, spinal cord, and nerves. It provides regulation of body functions & sensory perception.

5. The Endocrine System: includes hormone-producing cells & glands. It regulates homeostasis, growth & development.

6. The Cardiovascular System: includes blood, heart, & blood vessels. It is responsible for delivery of oxygen & nutrients to the tissues.

7. The Lymphatics & Immune System: includes lymphatic vessels & fluid. It is involved in the defense against infection.

8. The Respiratory System: includes lungs & airways. It is involved in the absorption of oxygen & release of carbon dioxide.

9. The Digestive System: includes organs of the gastrointestinal tract. It is responsible for the absorption of nutrients.

10.The Urinary System: includes the kidneys, ureters, and bladder. It is responsible for electrolyte balance & waste removal.

11.The Reproductive System: includes the reproductive organs in males and females. It controls the biological process by which new individuals are produced. Homeostasis: The process through which a nearly stable internal environment is maintained in the body so that cellular functions can proceed at maximum efficiency. Anatomical planes and sections: Anatomical planes are imaginary flat surfaces that pass through the body. The coronal plane coronal plane separates the body into front and back halves. The sagittal plane separates the body into left and right halves. The transverse plane separates the body into superior and inferior halves.