Sierra College Department of Biological Sciences

Discover the Biological Sciences

The introductory information for this site has been contributed as a joint assignment by students in Bio. Sci. 10.

Anatomy - Integumentary System

By: Krista Bradshaw

1) Biological field or sub-topic chosen: Integumentary System of the human anatomy

2) Define field or sub-topic: External covering of the human body which includes skin, hair, nails, sweat glands and its mucus. Skin, being the largest organ in the body, protects the body from the environment, prevents water loss from the inside toward outside, regulates the internal body temperature and senses the external environment.

3) Describe in more detail the breath and depth of what could be studied or learned within this topic:
The Integumentary System is multifaceted. To maintain the internal conditions of the body, its many systems are designed for protection. It is a barrier from potentially harmful illness and diseases as well as protecting underlying damage caused by ultraviolet radiation. It regulates the body’s temperature, preventing water from entering as well as protecting against water loss. It senses through its nerve endings touch, pressure, temperature and pain, sending important messages to the brain.

4) Focusing on one major concept, principle, or group of organisms (as appropriate within the topic), describe its importance, relationships, functional aspects, or otherwise explain it in more depth as seems important to you and (potentially) the others in class: Regulation of the body temperature is the most important function of the skin. It is done through the many types of nerves throughout its system. When the body heats up, such as during exercise, nerve endings in the skin send message to the sweat glands to produce sweat, for cooling down the skin. Also, when the body overheats, such as when body temperature is elevated above 98.6 degrees, nerve ending send message to blood vessels in the skin, dilating the vessels to bring more blood to the surface and allow the heat to escape. When the body is cold, nerve endings again send message to blood vessels, constricting the blood vessels to conserve body heat.

5) In studying and discovering more about this topic, what was the most interesting aspect, fact or some other piece of information that you have learned?
The most interesting aspect about the skin is the fact that it absorbs substances through capillaries into the bloodstream. It can absorb fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E and K. Medically many skin patches have been used through this system to bring drugs into the body: estrogen for female hormone replacement and birth control, nicotine for those trying to quit smoking, and scopolamine for those who have motion sickness. Negatively speaking, toxic chemicals can be absorbed into the body the same way, causing dangerous illness and diseases living within the environment. This has become a topic of serious discussion, finding the many ways harmful toxins enter the body and educating on how to make necessary changes to make a healthier living environment.

6) References – provide references used and at least two Web sites with additional information on this topic (or sub-topic) for anyone that would like to learn more:
References: Additional information:

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