In the last two decades, there has been widespread acknowledgment of the important role played by astrocytes in diverse aspects of central nervous system functioning. Astrocytes are crucial for the homeostasis of the copper in the central nervous system as evident by its proficiency in trafficking, and export of copper. Moreover, the imbalance in copper homeostasis and impairment in astrocyte functioning are increasingly being recognized as an important contributing factor in the development of neurodegeneration and cognitive waning.
You know when you itch an itch it never seems to stop? Well, researchers may have solved the mystery of what part of the brain is on high alert when there is an itch that we just cannot seem to satisfy as they took a closer look at the negative feedback loop of an itch. An experiment with mice has revealed that the activity of a small subset of neurons, located in a deep brain region called the periaqueductal gray, is responsible for itch-evoked scratching behavior. There are many different triggers that can cause itching, including allergic reactions, skin conditions, irritating chemicals, parasites, diseases, pregnancy, and cancer treatments. Despite the severity of these issues, relatively little is known about the brain regions involved in itch processing. The researchers suspected that the periaqueductal gray neurons could be involved because of its role in processing sensory information such as pain.
This article focuses on the importance of homeostatic mechanisms; to be specific, the effect homeostasis has on the expressions of phenotypes. Genes play an important role in a wide range of levels in the body. Among these genes are regulatory genes which play an important role in the coding for enzymes, transporters, and signalling factors. Homeostatic mechanisms aid in stabilizing form and function at these various levels against environmental and genetic factors. There are still some more areas for research in this topic— researchers are still unsure of how these mechanisms allow phenotypes to achieve and maintain their target set points.
A familiar example of homeostatic regulation in a mechanical system is the action of a room-temperature regulator, or thermostat. The heart of the thermostat is a bimetallic strip that responds to temperature changes by completing or disrupting an electric circuit. When the room cools, the circuit is completed, the furnace operates, and the temperature rises. At a preset level the circuit breaks, the furnace stops, and the temperature drops. Biological systems, of greater complexity, however, have regulators only very roughly comparable to such mechanical devices. The two types of systems are alike, however, in their goals—to sustain activity within prescribed ranges, whether to control the thickness of rolled steel or the pressure within the circulatory system.
Homeostasis plays a major role in the proper functioning of the body. It is regulated by different mechanisms such as osmoregulation, thermoregulation and chemical regulation by different systems in the body like respiratory system, digestive system, nervous system, urinary system. These systems maintain the stability of the body by releasing the stimulus when the hormone levels increases or decreases. The stimulus is generated; the cells act accordingly to maintain the proper functioning of the cell. Thus feedback mechanisms work and maintain the cells to meet the set point. The endocrine system has a regulatory effect on other organ systems in the human body. In the muscular system, hormones adjust muscle metabolism, energy production, and growth. In the nervous system, hormones affect neural metabolism, regulate fluid and ion concentration and help with reproductive hormones that influence brain development.
Cold intolerance is an extreme sensitivity to cold due to the body's inability to regulate body temperature. These are some common causes of cold intolerance in people:
1. Anemia (shortage of oxygen carrying red blood cells, which plays a major role in creating ATP in ETC)
2. Anxiety disorders (Activated fight or flight response which redirects blood flow to core organs, away from hands and feet)
3. Thyroid issues (creates hormones important for regulating body temperature)
4. Diabetes (poor circulation, less oxygen, less ATP)
5. Vascular disorders (blood flow restricted, less oxygen)
6. Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (abnormalities in the nervous system affects the body's homeostatic mechanisms)
7. Low blood pressure (less blood flow and oxygen flowing to cells)
8. Lack of sleep (Can slow the metabolism down and decrease energy production, may slow down activity of hypothalamus)
Example of negative feedback: thermoregulation
All endotherms regulate their temperature. Endotherms are animals which regulate their bodies at a different temperature than the environment. Most of the pathways responsible for temperature regulation are controlled by negative feedback. As the temperature rises, enzymes and pathways in the body are “turned-on”, and control various behaviors like sweating, panting and seeking shade. As the animal does these things, the temperature of their body starts to decrease. The activity of these pathways, which is driven by the heat, also starts to decrease. Eventually, a temperature is reached at which the pathway shuts off. Other pathways are present for temperatures that are too cold, and are also shut off once the body reaches the optimal temperature. These pathways can be shivering, seeking shelter, or burning fat. All these activities heat the body back up and are shut off by the end product of their reactions, heat.
Homeostasis is a self-regulating process where the body monitors its inner environment despite changes in the external environment. Homeostasis can be disrupted when an imbalance occurs in the body. An example is diabetes – the body’s blood sugar is too high. The pancreas is responsible for secreting insulin and glucagon and this maintains energy homeostasis. These two counter regulatory hormones control the concentration of glucose. In type 1 diabetes, there is a destruction of β-cells which means that the body doesn’t produce enough insulin to maintain homeostasis. In an ideal situation, the control mechanisms in homeostasis would prevent this imbalance. With diabetes, the mechanisms do not work efficiently or there is too much blood glucose to be controlled. Since homeostasis is so important for survival, it is necessary that diabetics take the proper medication to control the levels of blood glucose in their body.
Interplay between MicroRNAs and targeted genes in cellular homeostasis of adult zebrafish
A new class of non-coding RNAs, MicroRNA, has recently been discovered which has proven the process of metabolic homeostasis to be more complex than it was previously thought. The objective of the research is to understand damages resulted by toxins to the liver and the intestine as well as its relation to MiRNome. Baseline Characterization in healthy animal tissue undergoing cellular homeostasis is required for initiating transcriptome process. To test the theory, researchers dissected wildtype fish (Zebrafish) and isolated their liver and gut; from these organs, small RNA was extracted. These organs were chosen because the liver is the main site for detoxification and gut is the primary site for contaminant exposure. From the RNA samples, mRNA and miRNA libraries were constructed and put under high throughout sequencing. The results of the experiment showed that, miRNAs unique to each organ regulate fundamental cellular process important for both organs while those common to both tissues regulate biological processed specific to either the liver or the gut.
Homeostasis is any self-regulating process by which biological systems tend to maintain stability while adjusting to conditions that are optimal for survival. If homeostasis is successful, life continues; if unsuccessful, disaster or death ensues. The stability attained is actually a dynamic equilibrium, in which continuous change occurs yet relatively uniform conditions prevail.
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