Can you explain the concept of homeostasis and its significance in physiology?

Sample interview questions: Can you explain the concept of homeostasis and its significance in physiology?

Sample answer:

  • Homeostasis:
  • Definition: The ability of an organism or cell to maintain a relatively stable internal environment despite fluctuations in the external environment.
  • Importance: Homeostasis is essential for maintaining proper physiological functioning, as many biochemical reactions within cells rely on specific temperature, pH, and ion concentrations.

  • Mechanisms of Homeostasis:

  • Negative Feedback Mechanisms:

    • Most common type of homeostasis
    • Works by counteracting any deviation from the set point.
    • For example, if body temperature rises, sweating increases to cool the body and bring temperature back to the set point.
  • Positive Feedback Mechanisms:

    • Less common, but essential in certain physiological processes.
    • Amplifies the initial response rather than counteracting it.
    • For example, the release of oxytocin during birth stimulates uterine contractions, which further stimulates the release of oxytocin, leading to stronger contractions.
  • Homeostasis in Different Physiological Systems:

  • Temperature Regulation:

    • Body temperature is tightly regulated around a set point of 37°C (98.6°F).
    • When body temperature rises, sweating and vasodilation increase to dissipate heat.
    • When body temperature drops, shivering and vasoconstriction are triggered to generate and conserve heat.
  • pH Regulation:

    • Blood pH is maintained within a narrow range of 7.35-7.45.
    • When blood pH decreases (acidosis), the respiratory rate increases to expel more CO2, raising pH.
    • When blood pH increases (alkalosis), the respiratory rate decreases, and the kidneys excrete more bicarbonate, lowering pH.
  • Blood Pressure Regulation: Read full answer


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