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Study Questions

1. During exercise, blood flow to skeletal muscle increases. The initial response that increases
blood flow is automatic and independent of the nervous and endocrine systems. What type
of homeostatic regulation is this, and WHY?
This is autoregulation.
Autoregulation regulates homeostasis in direct response to changes in local environment, and
does not require neural or endocrine control.
So, during exercise, autoregulation increases blood flow to skeletal muscles automatically, in
response to chemical changes in the blood.

2. Why is it life-threatening to have a high fever?


As temperatures rise, protein shape changes and enzyme function deteriorates.
Eventually the protein undergoes denaturation, a change in tertiary or quaternary structure that
makes it nonfunctional.
It is life-threatening to have a high fever because the denaturation of structural proteins and
enzymes causes irreparable damage to organs and organ systems.

3. What role does the sodium potassium exchange pump play is stabilizing the resting
membrane potential?
The sodium potassium exchange pump stabilizes the resting membrane potential by causing the
overall charge in the cell to be less positively charged than the extracellular fluid.
Leak channels allow K+ ions to move out through cell membrane, reducing positive charge inside
the cell.
The Na+/K+ exchange pumps in the membrane use energy to pump 3 sodium ions out of the
cell, while pumping 2 potassium ions back into the cell.
This difference in charge, 3+ out and 2 + in, causes an overall loss of positive charge in the cell.
So the membrane potential is stable, still with a more negative charge distribution inside the
cell, and a more positive charge distribution outside the cell.
4. Name the organs found in the thoracic cavity.
The thoracic cavity contains the lungs, which are each enclosed in their own pleural cavity, and
the heart which is enclosed in the pericardial cavity.
5. Intravenous injection of KCl could be fatal. Why? Why is this a classic means of committing
murder in many murder mysteries?
Intravenous injection of KCl could be fatal because it would essentially mock a heart attack.
Muscles contract during a depolarization event, where ion channels open for ions to travel with

their concentration gradients.


KCl would add more potassium ions in the extracellular fluid, disrupting the membrane potential
and the K+ concentration gradient.
K+ would not flow out of the cell because the extracellular K+ levels would be too high.
So this disruption in the membrane potential is also disrupting muscle contraction.
The heart would thus enter cardiac arrest.
This is a classic means of murder because the drug is almost untraceable.
The drug will metabolize into K+ and Cl+ ions, two ions both naturally found in the body.
In addition, naturally when any muscle tissue is damaged, there is a massive influx of potassium
into the bloodstream.
So, the elevated blood potassium levels would be explained by the damaged cardiac muscle
tissue during a fatal heart attack.

6. What is homeostatic regulation, and what is its physiological importance?


Homeostatic regulation is the adjustment of physiological systems to preserve homeostasis in
environments that that are often inconsistent, unpredictable, and potentially dangerous.
Homeostatic regulation includes temperature, pH, minerals, electrolyte levels, water, glucose
levels, and many other aspects of physiology.
Physiological systems constantly adjust to maintain homeostasis.
Failure to maintain homeostasis will lead to illness or death.

7. How does the DNA MOLECULE CONTROL THE SHAPE AND APPEARANCE OF A CELL? WHAT
DOES A CELL DO ALL DAY? (THESE TWO ARE RELATED!)
The DNA stores the instructions for protein synthesis.
DNA determines the structure of the cell and its functions by controlling which proteins are
synthesized, under what circumstances, and in what amounts.
To control the shape and physical appearance of a cell, DNA molecules could code for specific
structural proteins.
What a cell does all day depends on the type of cell it is.
Cells do what theyre supposed to do because of the proteins they make.
This is the classic scenario of structure determining function, because the DNA has to code for
specific proteins, which will ultimately make up the cell shape and how the cell functions.