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The skin is the largest organ in the body: 12-15% of body weight, with a surface area of 1-2 meters. Skin is continuous with, but structurally distinct from mucous membranes that line the mouth, anus, urethra, and vagina. Two distinct layers occur in the skin: the dermis and epidermis. The basic cell type of the epidermis is the keratinocyte, which contain keratin, a fibrous protein. Basal cells are the innermost layer of the epidermis. Melanocytes produce the pigment melanin, and are also in the inner layer of the epidermis. The dermis is a connective tissue layer under the epidermis, and contains nerve endings, sensory receptors, capillaries, and elastic fibers.

The integumentary system has multiple roles in homeostasis, including protection, temperature regulation, sensory reception, biochemical synthesis, and absorption. All body systems work in an interconnected manner to maintain the internal conditions essential to the function of the body.

The integumentary system, formed by the skin, hair, nails, and associated glands, enwraps the body. It is the most visible organ system and one of the most complex. Diverse in both form and function—from delicate eyelashes to the thick skin of the soles—the integumentary system protects the body from the outside world and its many harmful substances. It utilizes the Sun's rays while at the same time shielding the body from their damaging effects. In addition, the system helps to regulate body temperature, serves as a minor excretory organ, and makes the inner body aware of its outer environment through sensory receptors.

Read more: The Integumentary System - body, effects, parts, skin, care http://www.faqs.org/health/Body-by-Design-V1/The-Integumentary-System.html#ixzz1UgtLRI9n

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