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Homeostasis is an organism's processes to maintain various internal conditions within a typically narrow range. This allows its cells to remain viable and for the organism to function optimally. Homeostasis involves the activity of a variety of cells throughout the body. The internal conditions are generally regulated by negative feedback loops or, much less frequently, by positive feedback loops. Feedback loops have three components: receptor, control center, and effector. Negative feedback loops function to prevent a continuing response to the stimulus. Positive feedback loops increase the response until a specific end point is achieved. Some internal conditions that are under homeostatic control include nutrient balance, core temperature, fluid volume, and blood pH.

At A Glance

  • The body is a complex system in which several biological processes are performed by cells that rely on homeostasis in order to properly function.
  • Homeostatic processes include three components: receptors to detect changing conditions, the brain to direct responses to the change, and effectors (muscles or glands) responding to the brain's directions.
  • Positive and negative feedback systems are used by the body to maintain homeostasis and keep internal body fluctuations close to the set point.
  • Water and temperature balance by osmoregulation and thermoregulation, respectively, are two examples of how the body works to maintain homeostasis.