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Introduction to physiology

2019- 2020

•Define physiology as a basic medical science

•Describe the levels of structural organization within the body.
•Identify the structure and functions of the main systems
•Describe the functions of blood
•Describe the physical characteristics and principal components of
•Describe the structure, function, life cycle and formation of red
blood cells.
•Describe the structure and functions and fates of different types of
white blood cells.
•Outline the role of platelets in blood clotting.
What is Physiology?

Physiology: is the study of the functions of the human body; of

how the body works, from cell to tissue, tissue to organ, organ to
system, and of how the organism as a whole accomplishes
particular tasks essential for life.

The study of physiology includes study not only of how each body
system carries out its functions, but also of the mechanisms
involved to regulate these activities in order to maintain
homeostasis under a variety of conditions
Physiology: Start mainly by the questions How and Why, and end
by the explanation of the physical and chemical factors that are
responsible for the origin, development, and progression of life.

Example: How do RBCs carry oxygen and Why do RBCs carry


The scope of physiology ranges from studying the activities or

functions of individual molecules and cells to the interaction of
our bodies with the external world.
Levels of Organization
Blood is a mixture of cellular components suspended
in plasma (type of tissue ?):
1. Erythrocytes (RBCs: Red blood cells or corpuscles)
2. Leukocytes (WBCs: White blood cells)
3. Thrombocytes (platelets)

Functions of blood?
Blood Components
Water • Albumin 54%
Whole blood 8% of body weight

91.5 % • Globulin 38% (α,β,γ)

• Fibrinogen 7%
Plasma Plasma • Other 1%
55% proteins 7%
• Regulatory substances
(enzymes & Hormones)
Other • Nutrient
• Electrolytes &Gases
solutes 1.5%
• Wastes

RBCs • Neutrophil 60-70%

4.5-6 million • Lymphocytes 20-25%
Cells Platelets
45% • Monocytes 4-8%
150,000 - 450,000
WBCs • Eosinophil 2-4 %

4000 -11000 • Basophil 0-1%

1. Albumin
-(with other proteins) contribute to osmotic pressure, blood
volume and blood viscosity
-Helps buffer the blood
-Transports many solutes by binding to them:
e.g. Drugs, penicillin, pigments, fatty acids, bile salts
2. Globulins
-Some are antibodies, part of immune system (γ globulins)
-Some help transport solutes
-Some involved in clotting
3. Fibrinogen
-Soluble precursor to fibrin = framework for clotting
➢Liver makes most plasma proteins (Except for antibodies and
protein-based hormones).
Physical Characteristics of Blood

• Blood volume: approximately 8% of body weight

• 5 – 6 L in an average sized adult male.

• 4 – 5 L in an average sized adult female.

• Person with normal blood volume is called Normovolemic.
• Person with volume lower than normal is called Hypovolemic.
• Person with volume higher than normal is called Hypervolemic.
C0ntinue….Physical Characteristics of Blood
• Viscosity: Blood is 4 – 5 times as viscous as water.
• The primary determinants of blood viscosity are the RBCs
and plasma proteins types and concentration.

• The pH: of blood is 7.35 – 7.45; mean = 7.4

• Osmolarity (concentration of solutes in plasma) = 300 mOsm/l
• Salinity (concentration of NaCl in blood) = 0.85% (normal
saline 0.9 %)

• Temperature: is 38°C (slightly higher than body temp.)

• Average volume (Mean Corpuscular Volume MCV ):
80 - 100 µm3 = Normocytes,
=⇧ Macrocytes, =⇩ Microcytes.
• Average count: 5 million/mm3

.Anaemia ⇩ ,Polycythaemia = ⇧
- in adult females (4.5 - 5 million/mm3).
- in adult males (5 - 5.5 million/mm3).
- in new borne (6 - 8 million/mm3)
➢ Why the new borne has higher no. of RBCs?
1. RBC’S (Erythrocytes)
• Shape: biconcave disc with large surface
• Size: Diameter 7.5 µ; thickness 2.5 µ.
• Can change shape (squeeze itself through
a capillary more easily )

• Devoid of nucleus, mitochondria ribosomes, endoplasmic

reticulum and centriole.
• Actually, the red blood cell is a “bag” that can be deformed into
almost any shape.
• Contains hemoglobin & important Enzymes (carbonic
anhydrase, glycolytic enzymes & enzymes for formation of
reducing substances).
• The primary Function of RBCs is to transport
O2 from the lungs to the body cells and some
CO2 from the tissue to the lungs.
Hemoglobin and oxygen transport
Is a Large complex protein.
Contain globular protein
(globin) and pigment (haem)
Each haemoglobin molecule
contains 4 globin chains and 4
haem units, each one with one
atom of iron (Fe2+). So each
haemoglobin molecule can
carry up to 4 O2 molecules.
Hemoglobin binds oxygen where oxygen concentration is high
(lungs), and releases it where oxygen concentration is low
When combined with O2 it forms oxyhemoglobin
pH of arterial blood
5-7% pH of venous blood?
20% 75%

• Average hemoglobin content in adult male is
15 gm/100ml blood

What would happen

If Hb is found in plasma as free hemoglobin?

• Hb amount in each individual cells is 27~31 pg

Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin (MCH)

• and occupy 32~36 % of red cell volume

Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin concentration (MCHC)
• Hb is red coloring pigment that gives the individual
RBCs and collectively the blood its red color So:

• If Hb content in RBCs is normal it is called


• If Hb content in RBCs is lower than normal, it is called


• MCHC value cannot be more than normal.

Erythropoiesis = Haematopoiesis
(RBCs formation)
➢ Yolk sac (in early weeks of embryonic life).
➢ Extramedullary (liver, spleen and lymph nodes) middle trimester.
➢ Medullary (from last trimester).

- In children → Red
marrow in all bones
(flat and long bones).
- In adults → Red
marrow is restricted
to the flat bones
(pelvis, skull, sternum
vertebrae and ribs)
and the proximal end
of large long bones
Regulation of Hematopoiesis

• Tissue oxygenation is the most essential regulator of

red blood cell production.
• Any condition that causes the quantity of oxygen
transported to the tissues to decrease ordinarily
increases the rate of red blood cell production.
• Hypoxia is the main stimulus for hematopoiesis.
• Causes of Hypoxia?
• In cases of hypoxia erythropoietin hormone is
produced (90% by the kidney, and 10% by the liver).
• When the kidneys are destroyed by renal diseases,
the person becomes very anemic because the 10%
of erythropoietin formed in the liver is sufficient to
cause only one third the RBCs formation needed by
the body in this case the person is called to have
renal anemia.
Reticulo-Endothelial System (RES)
Fate and death of RBCs
• RBCs have a lifespan of 100 - 120 days
• Age makes them less flexible and fragile.
• Old RBCs get trapped in the small
splenic sinusoids.

• RBCs are destroyed in macrophages that

present mainly in the spleen, liver and bone

• These macrophages collectively called

Reticulo-endothelial system (RES)

Blood has abnormally low oxygen-carrying capacity
– This is due to reduction of RBCs No. Size /or Hb content
– Blood oxygen levels cannot support normal metabolism
– Signs/symptoms include fatigue, pallor, shortness of
– It is a symptom rather than a disease itself
White Blood Cells (Leukocytes)
• Are the mobile units of the body’s protective system.
• WBCs are called “white” blood cells because they lack
hemoglobin and are colorless.
• They are nucleated and larger in size than RBCs
WBCs Functions
1. Destruction of invading pathogens (e.g. bacteria) by
2. Forming antibodies and sensitized lymphocytes (B cells)
and destroy or inactivate the invader.
3. Identification and destruction of cancer cells.
4. Phagocytosis of tissue debris including dead and injured
Types of WBC’s
• WBCs life span is about 7 days ,
• The normal WBCs count is 4000 -11000/mm3
• Leucopenia: WBCs < 4000
• Leukocytosis: WBCs >11000
• Leukemia: over productions of WBCs can be caused by cancerous
growth, Leukemia, is characterized by WBCs > 20000/ul
Leukocytosi Leukemia

Neutrophilia Lymphocytosi
3. Platelets (Thrombocytes)
• The normal platelets 150,000 - 450,000/ul
• Platelets life span is 7 to 10 days
• Platelets are fragments of cytoplasm that are derived from
the megakaryocytes of the bone marrow.
• Increased number of thrombocytes (platelets) than 450,000
is called thrombocytosis.
• Decreased number of thrombocytes below 150,000 is called
Functions of platelets
A. Platelets are mainly concerned with haemostasis by:
1. Formation of platelet plug.
2. Release of serotonin & thromboxane A2 (strong

3. Clot Formation: release some clotting factors
4. Clot retraction (Actin, myosin, and thrombosthenin).
5. Stabilization of blood clot by (factor XIII).
6. Repair of the damaged vessel wall and wound healing by
releasing (PDGF platelet derived growth factor).
B. Platelets have phagocytic functions.
Functions of Platelets
Haemostasis (Stop bleeding)
Step 1&2 :
Primary haemostasis Step 3: Secondary haemostasis