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The human body: systems, organs and main functions

Introduction to the human body

Scheme of the different human body organs systems

Figure 1: Scheme of the different human body organs systems

The human body is composed of several different subsystems ranging from microscopic scales to macroscopic level. All the human body functions are controlled by one or more organ systems. One specific organ might be involved in different organ systems (e.g pancreas, kidney…) depending of its functions. [1-2]


The external layer of the human body, the integumentary organ system

Scheme of the Integumentary organ system of the human body (1)

Figure 2: Scheme of the Integumentary organ system of the human body (1)

The integument forms the external cover of the organism and is composed of skin, hair, subcutaneous tissue, nails and of course associated glands: the sudoriparous and the sebaceous glands [3].

Its main role is to protect the organism against any external damages and infections. Therefore, it is considered as the first barrier between the body and the environment. It also controls the human body temperature and the water loss. It has an important role in the synthesis of Vitamin D because it takes place in the integument. The integument system includes a variety of receptors such as pain, pressure or burning sensors, responsible to its preventive role.


The skeletal system, the internal scaffold of the human body

Scheme of the Skeleton body system of the human body

Figure 3: Scheme of the Skeleton body system of the human body

The skeletal system is the human body’s system that contains all the bones. Each bone is a very complex tissue made up of cells, protein fibres and minerals [4]. The bone acts as a scaffold giving structural support and protection for the soft tissues and other organs. It also provides attachment points for different muscles and tendons. Blood globules synthesis in the bone marrow occurs within this skeletal system.[5]. Moreover, it stores minerals which are crucial for the physiology of the human body (ionic homeostasis).


The muscular system of the human body

Image of a part of the muscular system in junction with the skeletal system

Figure 4: Image of a part of the muscular system in junction with the skeletal system

This organ system acts as a junction within the skeletal system. Bones are the static support part of the body while the muscles provide the dynamic movement by moving the bones. The muscles are responsible for the locomotion of the human body or its face expression. This muscular system is the one that keeps the body in a straight position and allows the human to walk using only two points of support. [6-7]


The nervous system, monitors and control the organism

Image of the components of the nervous system of the human body

Figure 5: Image of the components of the nervous system of the human body

The nervous system regulates the entire human organism. It reacts instantaneously to all possible changes in the human body and its environment (both internal and external) [8]. By having all the information centralized, it can then activate all the glands, organs and muscles required for the body to answer to a signal. It is considered as the core of the human body because it monitors and controls everything that happens to the organism. It is formed by the central nervous system: brain and spinal cord, and the peripherical nervous system: nerves and sensorial receptor.


The organism regulator: the endocrine system

Image of the different organs that compose the endocrine system in the male and female human body

Figure 6: Image of the different organs that compose the endocrine system in the male and female human body

The main organs inside this system are the glands which secretes all the hormones needed to regulate most of the chemical reactions of the organism. The hormones role is to regulate the metabolism, behaviour and homeostasis of the body. The endocrine system also provides the cells with nutrients and it must be mentioned that disruptions of this system leads to major global dysfunctions [9].


The cardiovascular system: the engine of the human organism

Image of the main organs of the cardiovascular system

Figure 7: Image of the main organs of the cardiovascular system

The role of the cardiovascular system is to transport blood to each tissue and cell of the body. Depending on the blood system (arterial or venous) it will contain oxygen, nutrients or it will eliminate CO2 and waste products. This system has the heart as main organ and the blood vessels as connective tubing’s to transport the blood all around the body. The heart acts as a very powerful pump through a succession of chambers (atria and ventricles) [10-11].


The cardiovascular system: the engine of the human organism

Image of the main organs of the cardiovascular system

Figure 7: Image of the main organs of the cardiovascular system

The role of the cardiovascular system is to transport blood to each tissue and cell of the body. Depending on the blood system (arterial or venous) it will contain oxygen, nutrients or it will eliminate CO2 and waste products. This system has the heart as main organ and the blood vessels as connective tubing’s to transport the blood all around the body. The heart acts as a very powerful pump through a succession of chambers (atria and ventricles) [10-11].


The lymphatic and immunitary systems: the human organism defense

Image of the organs that composed the lymphatic and immunitary systems

Figure 8: Image of the organs that composed the lymphatic and immunitary systems

The lymphatic system works together with the circulatory and the cardiovascular systems. It contains lymphocytes and other white blood cells. Immunitary system uses the white blood cells to attack all the external organism that enters the body [12].


The respiratory system of the human body

 Image with the components of the respiratory system of the human body

Figure 9: Image with the components of the respiratory system of the human body

This organs system provides the oxygen that the human organism requires and removes the CO2 generated by the human body. It is composed by the nasal cavity, the pharynx, the larynx, the trachea, the lungs and all it subunits that ends with the alveolus. It works together with the cardiovascular system in the oxygen and CO2 switch that occurs at the alveolus level [13].


The digestive system: the feeding system of the human organism

Image showing the organs involved in the digestive system of the human body

Figure 10: Image showing the organs involved in the digestive system of the human body

The aim of this organ system is to decompose the aliments into nutrients that will later be absorbed and distributed to reach all the cells of the human organism. It is also in charge of defecation of the waste products from the intestine via the rectum. The digestive system is considered as of the most complex systems because it is highly involved in the metabolism [14-15]. Furthermore, digestive system is often considered as the “second brain” as it contains millions of neurons that communicate with the brain. The main organs are the oral cavity, the oesophagus, the liver, the stomach, the small and gross intestines, and finally rectum and anus.


The urinary system

Image of the urinary system organs from the human body

Figure 11: Image of the urinary system organs from the human body

The main work performed by kidneys, urethra, ureters and bladder, which hare organs of the urinary system, is to eliminate waste products which cannot be removed by the digestive system. It also filters the blood to remove any kind of waste product. The urinary organs also have function in the regulation of the blood volume and pressure. Urinary system controls the level of metabolites and electrolytes inside the human organism and so have a strong role in the human body homeostasis. As example, it is involved in the blood pH regulation.


Importance of understanding the complexity of the human body

Scheme of the possibilities of the Organ-on-chip programme

Figure 12: Scheme of the possibilities of the Organ-on-chip programme

Now Cherry Biotech is immersed in the Human-on-a-chip races, meaning that the human body has to be considered as a complex interconnected entity and not as different independent parts.


Bibliography/Sources

  1. Marieb EN, Lachaîne R. Anatomie et physiologie humaines. 2e éd. Saint-Laurent Québec: De Boeck Université; 1999.
  2. Sherwood L. Human physiology: from cells to systems [Internet]. 2015.
  3. McLafferty E, Hendry C, Farley A. The integumentary system: anatomy, physiology and function of skin. Nurs Stand.
  4. Soetan KO, Olaiya CO, Oyewole OE. The importance of mineral elements for humans, domestic animals and plants – A review. African J Food Sci. 2010;4(5):200–22.
  5. Cooper B. The origins of bone marrow as the seedbed of our blood: from antiquity to the time of Osler. Proc (Bayl Univ Med Cent) [Internet]. 2011 Apr;24(2):115–8.
  6. Cohen B. Memmler’s Structure and Function of the Human body, SC. 2015.
  7. Kenney W, Wilmore J, Costill D. Physiology of Sport and Exercise 6th Edition. 2015.
  8. Kreibig S. Autonomic nervous system activity in emotion: A review. Biol Psychol.
  9. Casals-Casas C, Desvergne B. Endocrine Disruptors: From Endocrine to Metabolic Disruption. Annu Rev Physiol.
  10. Nelson B, Kaliakatsos I. Microrobots for minimally invasive medicine. Annu Rev. 2010.
  11. Sherwood L. Human physiology: from cells to systems. 2015.
  12. Romagnani S. The role of lymphocytes in allergic disease. J Allergy Clin Immunol.
  13. Dickson R, Erb-Downward J. The role of the bacterial microbiome in lung disease. Expert Rev. 2013.
  14. Gropper S, Smith J. Advanced nutrition and human metabolism. 2012.
  15. Boron W, Boulpaep E. Medical physiology. 2016.

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Written by Pablo Salaverria

Written by Pablo Salaverria

PHD STUDENT | INNOVATION UNIT | H2020-MSCA-ITN-DIVIDE

Pablo is part of the H2020-MSCA-ITN-ETN-DivIDe European network. LEARN MORE.
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