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VET10160 Cell Biology & Homeostasis UCD Assignment Example

Cell Biology & Homeostasis is the study of how cells maintain a stable internal environment despite changes in the external environment. This is accomplished through a process called homeostasis, which means “standing still.” The cells in our body work together to maintain a constant internal environment, even when our external environment is constantly changing.

One of the most important aspects of homeostasis is maintaining a constant pH balance. Our blood pH must be kept within a very tight range or we would die. Cells use buffers to prevent big changes in pH, and they also produce carbon dioxide and water as waste products to keep the pH level stable. The carbon dioxide reacts with the hydrogen ions and changes by combining into bicarbonate which acts as a buffer. This process maintains this steady-state for the body. If we look at a graph of pH, it will look like a flat line at 7; however, we can see that the pH actually changes by small amounts when different cells are active or not performing their functions.

Assignment Task 1: Explain how homeostasis and control systems along with communication represent two of the major themes in veterinary physiology.

Homeostasis and control systems play a critical role in maintaining an organism’s internal environment within relatively tight parameters. This is important because the cells of an organism rely on a stable internal environment to function properly. For example, cells require a certain pH level and osmotic pressure to carry out their essential functions.

In addition to homeostasis, organisms also use communication mechanisms to interact with their external environment. For example, animals use sensory receptors to detect changes in their surroundings (e.g., temperature, light levels, etc.), and then they use this information to adjust their behavior accordingly. Similarly, plants use receptors to detect changes in the moisture content of the soil and sunlight levels, which then regulates their water uptake and growth.

By defining pH, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen ions, we can better understand how cells maintain the sixth great solution that defines life: keeping checks and balances on their internal environment through the process of homeostasis.

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Assignment Task 2: Recognize and describe how functional control systems require efficient communication using a combination of chemical and electrical signals.

Functional control systems require efficient communication in order to properly regulate the system. The communication needs to be fast, accurate, and reliable to ensure that the system performs as intended. If there is a problem with the communication, it can lead to malfunctions and even catastrophic failures.

One of the biggest challenges for any communication system is dealing with noisy data. Noise can come from many sources, such as interference from other devices or environmental factors. It can also come from errors in the data transmission itself. The key to overcoming this challenge is designing a communications system that is robust enough to handle the noise and still produce accurate results.

The oldest known physiology experiment was conducted in regard to temperature regulation. Aristotle during his studies stated that the more bodies each individual athlete has, the more heat they lose through sweat. The more heat lost from sweating, aggravated by partial darkness and close-quarters fighting, didn’t allow wrestlers to fight him the same way they did when he first started the competition in conjunction with the ancient three-men-in-each-pillar rule (also known as palingenesia or nongraduating).

Assignment Task 3: Describe the basis of cell excitability (nerve, muscle, other) – using clinical examples of contributions to homeostasis.

Electrical signals are generated by changes in the concentration of ions inside and outside of cells. This occurs due to the opening and closing of ion channels on the cell membrane.

In nerve cells, an electrical signal is initiated by the influx of sodium ions into the cell. This then causes a change in the concentration of potassium ions, which causes more sodium ions to enter, and so on. The result is an action potential – a rapid sequence of electrical signals that travels down the nerve fiber.

In muscle cells, an electrical signal is initiated when calcium ions enter the cell. This then causes a change in the concentration of potassium ions, which again causes more calcium ions to enter, etc. The result is a muscle contraction.

In other cells, an electrical signal is initiated by an influx of potassium ions or a decrease in the concentration of sodium ions.

Whenever cells have to make complex decisions, they do it by taking inputs and calculating the output. Since decisions involve comparing multiple levels of inputs, this process is known as computation. The mechanism works best in single-cell organisms with simple parts like bacteria and some invertebrates – especially the ones that are slime molds such as “Dictyostelium discoideum”.

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Assignment Task 4: Describe how the mammalian immune system functions homeostatically with respect to environmental antigens, including pathogens.

The immune system balances the levels of energy it unleashes in response to an environmental antigen. The janitor analogy is a helpful way to think about this process, as the immune system tries to release less energy into the environment in order to stay alive. After days or weeks of exposure, some cells may have developed genetic make-up that allows for limited visibility of antigens from a naturalistically relevant distance.

Therefore, the immune system will release extra energy in order to distinguish antigens from innocuous outside cues. While this sounds like excessive energy expenditure, one must also think of it in that the immune system has already been performing these functions for its entire lifespan. The expenses incurred in detecting antigens are a small fraction of the expenses accrued after birth.

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