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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Human physiology is the science of the mechanical, physical, and biochemical functions of humans in good health, their organs, and the cells of which they are composed. The principal level of focus of physiology is at the level of organs and systems. Most aspects of human physiology are closely homologous to corresponding aspects of animal physiology, and animal experimentation has provided much of the foundation of physiological knowledge. Anatomy and physiology are closely related fields of study: anatomy, the study of form, and physiology, the study of function, are intrinsically tied and are studied in tandem as part of a medical curriculum.


Integration,communication and Homeostasis

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 which occurs in a variety of ways, both electrical and chemical.

In terms of the human body, the endocrine and nervous systems play major roles in the reception and transmission of signals which integrate function. Homeostasis is a major aspect with regards to the interactions within an organism, humans included.


Traditionally, the academic discipline of physiology views the body as a collection of interacting systems, each with its own combination of functions and purposes.

System Clinical study Physiology
Human brain NIH.jpg The nervous system consists of the central nervous system (which is the brain and spinal cord) and peripheral nervous system. The brain is the organ of thought, emotion, and sensory processing, and serves many aspects of communication and control of various other systems and functions. The special senses consist of vision, hearing, taste, and smell. The eyes, ears, tongue, and nose gather information about the body's environment. neuroscience, neurology (disease), psychiatry (behavioral), ophthalmology (vision), otolaryngology (hearing, taste, smell) neurophysiology
Skelett-Mensch-drawing.jpg The musculoskeletal system consists of the human skeleton (which includes bones, ligaments, tendons, and cartilage) and attached muscles. It gives the body basic structure and the ability for movement. In addition to their structural role, the larger bones in the body contain bone marrow, the site of production of blood cells. Also, all bones are major storage sites for calcium and phosphate. osteology (skeleton), orthopedics (bone disorders) cell physiology, musculoskeletal physiology
Diagram of the human heart (cropped).svg The circulatory system consists of the heart and blood vessels (arteries, veins, capillaries). The heart propels the circulation of the blood, which serves as a "transportation system" to transfer oxygen, fuel, nutrients, waste products, immune cells, and signalling molecules (i.e., hormones) from one part of the body to another. The blood consists of fluid that carries cells in the circulation, including some that move from tissue to blood vessels and back, as well as the spleen and bone marrow. cardiology (heart), hematology (blood) cardiovascular physiology
Heart-and-lungs.jpg The respiratory system consists of the nose, nasopharynx, trachea, and lungs. It brings oxygen from the air and excretes carbon dioxide and water back into the air. pulmonology. respiratory physiology
Stomach colon rectum diagram.svg The gastrointestinal system consists of the mouth, esophagus, stomach, gut (small and large intestines), and rectum, as well as the liver, pancreas, gallbladder, and salivary glands. It converts food into small, nutritional, non-toxic molecules for distribution by the circulation to all tissues of the body, and excretes the unused residue. gastroenterology gastrointestinal physiology
Skin-no language.PNG The integumentary system consists of the covering of the body (the skin), including hair and nails as well as other functionally important structures such as the sweat glands and sebaceous glands. The skin provides containment, structure, and protection for other organs, but it also serves as a major sensory interface with the outside world. dermatology cell physiology, skin physiology
Gray1120.png The urinary system consists of the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. It removes water from the blood to produce urine, which carries a variety of waste molecules and excess ions and water out of the body. nephrology (function), urology (structural disease) renal physiology
Male anatomy.png The reproductive system consists of the gonads and the internal and external sex organs. The reproductive system produces gametes in each sex, a mechanism for their combination, and a nurturing environment for the first 9 months of development of the offspring. gynecology (women), andrology (men), sexology (behavioral aspects) embryology (developmental aspects) reproductive physiology
PBNeutrophil.jpg The immune system consists of the white blood cells, the thymus, lymph nodes and lymph channels, which are also part of the lymphatic system. The immune system provides a mechanism for the body to distinguish its own cells and tissues from alien cells and substances and to neutralize or destroy the latter by using specialized proteins such as antibodies, cytokines, and toll-like receptors, among many others. immunology immunology
Illu endocrine system.png The endocrine system consists of the principal endocrine glands: the pituitary, thyroid, adrenals, pancreas, parathyroids, and gonads, but nearly all organs and tissues produce specific endocrine hormones as well. The endocrine hormones serve as signals from one body system to another regarding an enormous array of conditions, and resulting in variety of changes of function. endocrinology endocrinology

The traditional divisions by system are somewhat arbitrary. Many body parts participate in more than one system, and systems might be organized by function, by embryological origin, or other categorizations. In particular, is the "neuroendocrine system", the complex interactions of the neurological and endocrinological systems which together regulate physiology. Furthermore, many aspects of physiology are not as easily included in the traditional organ system categories.

The study of how physiology is altered in disease is pathophysiology.

See also

External links

Study guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiversity

This Human physiology "link-book" provides links to Wikipedia articles about the basics of physiology. The idea with it is that there already is lots of information on physiology on Wikipedia, constantly being edited, updated and improved. This page gathers just the articles needed to get the basics of physiology in one single place.



  • Clicking around on links gives you supplementary information, but is not required for the basic knowledge. Rather, it could be misleading and delaying the progress of reading the book. Thus, use them only as far as that you understand what they mean in the primary text. However, by moderately clicking on related links, you can turn this basic physiology book into a comprehensive one, deciding yourself how deep into the subject you want to go.
  • The sections describing the history of things can be omitted, because it is physiology you want to learn about, not history. The body has its functions, no matter who discovered them.
  • Just as history, sections of articles concerning animals and plants etc. can also be left out.



Physiology of cells and molecules

To be able to describe the functions of organs, it is essential to first know about the parts forming them, i.e. cells.

w:Cell membrane

w:action potential

w:Signal transduction w:Regulation of gene expression w:neurotransmission

the Nervous system

w:Nervous system#Vertebrates w:Neuron

the Respiratory system

w:Respiratory system

the Cardiovascular system

w:Circulatory system

the Urinary system

w:Urinary system

the Gastrointestinal system

w:Gastrointestinal tract

the Endocrine system

w:Endocrine system

the Reproductive system

w:Reproductive system

Male Reproductive system


Female Reproductive system



Up to date as of January 23, 2010
(Redirected to Human Physiology article)

From Wikibooks, the open-content textbooks collection

 Human Physiology 

HomeostasisCellsIntegumentaryNervousSensesMuscularBloodCardiovascularImmuneUrinaryRespiratoryGastrointestinalNutritionEndocrineReproduction (male)Reproduction (female)PregnancyGenetics — Development — Answers


Welcome! This book began as a class project in July 2006 with a small class of pre-nursing students. We knew nothing about how to create or edit a Wikibook, but we decided to do it anyway. We received a lot of help from the active Wikibooks community, and through the chaos a book emerged! I didn't teach physiology again until spring 2007, when we used this book as our textbook and improved upon it chapter by chapter. We are happy with our accomplishments, but the book could still be much improved. We need YOUR help to make this the best introductory physiology textbook available, not simply the best free physiology textbook. No other classrooms have adopted this book or used it significantly as far as I know. If you do use it or are considering using it, please send me a message, and we can discuss future directions for the book. Of course, even the casual reader should take the liberty of editing boldly and bravely. Here is a list of suggested ways to contribute if you are looking for a place to start. If you are new to editing Wikis, then please register on Wikibooks, and read through this editing help page. Thanks for coming--I hope you find this a useful resource and that you actively share your knowledge of human physiology with the world! Kevin 18:21, 24 October 2007 (UTC)


  1. Homeostasis
  2. Cell Physiology
  3. Integumentary System
  4. The Nervous System
  5. Senses
  6. The Muscular System
  7. Blood Physiology
  8. The Cardiovascular System
  9. The Immune System
  10. The Urinary System
  11. The Respiratory System
  12. The Gastrointestinal System
  13. Nutrition
  14. The Endocrine System
  15. The Male Reproductive System
  16. The Female Reproductive System
  17. Pregnancy and Birth
  18. Genetics and Inheritance
  19. Development: Birth through Death
  20. Appendix 1: Answers to Review Questions
  21. Authors
  22. Further Reading

See also

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