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Human Physiology Rapid Review for AP Biology

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By — McGraw-Hill Professional
Updated on Oct 24, 2011

For a more thorough review of the terminologies below, refer to these concepts:

The following terms are important to review human physiology:

Circulatory system: bloodflow—left side of heart →aorta →via arteries to organs, muscles → into the venous system of the body (vena cava) →right side of heart →lungs (pick up O2) → left side of heart.

Respiratory pathway: nose/mouth → pharynx → larynx → trachea → thoracic cavity → bronchi → bronchioles → alveoli (functional unit of the lungs; this is where gas exchange occurs).

Digestive system: digestion begins in mouth, continues in the stomach, and completes in the intestines.

  • Amylase: enzyme that breaks down starches in the diet (mouth and small intestine).
  • Pepsin: main digestive enzyme of the stomach that breaks down proteins.
  • Lipase: major fat digesting enzyme of the body (small intestine).
  • Trypsin and chymotrypsin: major protein digesting endopeptidases of the small intestine.
  • Bile: contains phospholipids, cholesterol, and bile salts (major emulsifier of fat).
  • Maltase, lactase, and sucrase: carbohydrate digesting enzymes of the small intestines.
  • Most of the digestion of food occurs in the small intestine.
  • Function of the large intestine is to reabsorb water and to excrete salts.

Excretory system: kidneys lie on the posterior wall of the abdomen. Kidney is divided into the cortex and the medulla. The functional unit of the kidney is the nephron. The medulla is divided into renal pyramids, which dump the urine produced into the calyces →bladder via the ureter → out of the body via the urethra.

  • Most of what is dumped into the glomerular system is reabsorbed—nearly all the sugar, vitamins, water, and nutrients. If sugar appears in urine, it is because there is too much in the system (diabetes).
  • Two important hormones of the excretory system are ADH (controls water absorption) and aldosterone (controls sodium reabsorption).

Rapid Review

Endocrine System

Anterior pituitary hormones

  • FSH stimulates ovaries and testes.
  • LH: stimulates ovulation, increased estrogen/progesterone release.
  • TSH: increased release of thyroid hormone.
  • STH: increased growth.
  • ACTH: increased secretion of adrenal hormones.
  • Prolactin: controls lactogenesis, decreased GnRH.

Pancreatic hormones

  • Insulin: increased glycogen formation.
  • Glucagon: increased glycogen breakdown.

Parathyroid hormone (PTH): increased Ca2+ involved in bone maintenance.

Posterior pituitary hormones

  • ADH: stimulates H2O reabsorption.
  • Oxytocin: stimulates uterine contraction and milk ejection.

Adrenal gland hormones

  • Aldosterone: regulates sodium concentration of body.
  • Cortisol: stress hormone.

Sex hormones

  • Progesterone: involved in menstrual cycle and pregnancy.
  • Estrogen: made in ovaries; increased release of LH (LH surge).
  • Testosterone: (testes): develops male sex characteristics.

Negative feedback: hormone acts to directly, or indirectly, inhibit further release of the hormone of interest.

Positive feedback: hormone acts to directly, or indirectly, cause increased secretion of the hormone.

Nervous system: divided into two parts: central nervous system (CNS) and peripheral nervous system (PNS).

  • CNS: controls skeletal muscles and voluntary actions.
  • ANS: controls involuntary activities of body.
  • ANS: sympathetic (prepare for fight): increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, digestiveslowdown, dilate bronchial muscles; parasympathetic (conserve energy): decreased heart rate, decreased blood pressure, bladder constriction.
  • Brain: cerebellum (coordination/balance): medulla (involuntary actions such as breathing),hypothalamus (regulates hunger, thirst, temperature), amygdala (emotion control center).

Immune system

  • Nonspecific immunity: nonspecific prevention of entrance of invaders into the body (skin,mucus).
  • Specific immunity: multilayered defense mechanism: (1) first line of defense—phagocytes, macrophage, neutrophils, complement; (2) second line of defense: B cells (plasma/memory), T cells (helper/cytotoxic).
  • Primary immune response: antigen invader →B cell meets antigen →B cell differentiates into plasma cells and memory cells → plasma cells produce antibodies → antibodies eliminate antigen (humoral immunity).
  • Secondary immune response: antigen invader →memory cells recognize antigen and pump out antibodies much quicker than primary response → antibodies eliminate antigen.
  • Cell-mediated immunity: involves T cells and direct cellular response to invasion. Defense against viruses.
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