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.