Function and Structure Of The Integumentary System

The integumentary system is the most recognizable organ in your entire body. It consists of your hair, nails, skin, sebaceous glands sweat glands, mammary glands, and more. Believe it or not, your skin is actually an organ. This makes it visible to the outside world and because of that, clinicians can determine a lot about your general health just by looking at it. The goals of your skin are to protect the rest of your body from the external environment, regulate temperature, process/sense information, synthesize nutrients for the body, and aid in the immune response process.

Within this system, there are two parts to be aware of. The first is the Cutaneous membrane. This membrane consists of the Epidermis and the Dermis. The second part of the integumentary system is the accessory structures. These structures are things like your nails, hair, sweat glands, and sebaceous glands.

Cutaneous Membrane

The cutaneous membrane consists of two parts:

  1. Epidermis
  2. Dermis

The Epidermis is the most superficial epithelium layer in the skin. This layer is the first line of defense against the surrounding environment. It helps protect organs from chemical and mechanical factors that could cause damage, controls skin permeability, synthesizes D3, prevents water loss, and houses receptors for pressure, pain, and temperature.

The Dermis layer of the cutaneous membrane is the underlying connective tissue. This layer is split into the papillary layer and the reticular layer. The papillary layer is the more superior layer that helps support the dermis and provides nourishment. The second layer is the reticular layer. This layer is deep compared to the papillary layer and helps prevent the spread of pathogens, store fat, assist with blood vessel regulation, and aid in attaching skin to deeper tissue.

Below the Dermis, there is a layer called the hypodermis. This layer is also known as the subcutaneous layer or superficial fascia. This layer, although connected with the cutaneous layer, is not usually considered to be a part of the Integumentary system.

Accessory Structures

The accessory structures of the cutaneous membrane consists of:

  • Nails
  • Exocrine glands
  • Hair follicles

Nails function to support and protect the tip of fingers and toes.

Exocrine glands are direct assistants in regulating body temperature, moisturizing and lubricating the dermis layer, and excreting waste from the body.

Hair follicles offer protection and sensations around the entire body. The hair produced on your head helps protect the skull. It also helps detect sensitive sensations around your general body.

Nervous Tissue

Without nervous tissue, almost all functions in your body would not occur. The nervous system is responsible for sending electrical signals throughout the body. These tissues are responsible for conscious and unconscious actions like moving an arm and constriction of your blood vessels.

The cells of nervous tissue, also known as neural cells, can be classified into two categories:

  1. Neurons
  2. Neuroglia

These cells are some of the longest cells in your entire body but are incapable of cell reproduction. Thus, damage or death of these cells can lead to permanent damage in your body. These cells also consist of unique anatomy. These cells have a Soma or cell body, Axon or nerve fiber, and dendrites or signal receiver sites.

Neurons are the main cells in the nervous system. They are responsible for transmitting the impulse in this system. They will release chemical and electrical signals that lead to reactions or systems to process something.

Neuroglia are the cells that support the neurons. They do this by wrapping the neurons with myelin. This myelin helps increase the speed at which neurons transmit their signals.

#46 Study Biology Section!

For the last year, we have discussed the best way to share information and education through My Biology Experience. We have discussed using notes from classes and materials used in class. But, we found that those materials were hard to read and understand because each person takes notes differently. We have also discussed creating a discussion board where people can post questions and the community can answer. However, with the platform we have created, we decided to do something better!

The Study Biology section will be published in the coming days and be an ongoing work in progress for the coming years as My Biology Experience continues to grow. The home page will consist of a list of courses like Human Anatomy, Introduction to Biology, and many other courses than can be requested by YOU! Within these “classes” you will have the opportunity to select posts made about the topic. For example, we have already begun to post material for Human Anatomy. You can select lessons on Epithelial tissue and others! This information can be used as an extra piece of material in the classroom or as a self-taught lesson!

We would love to hear what the community has to say about this project. Please feel free to ask questions about the lessons and we will be sure to update you in the future on our plans!