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In this lab we will learn the body’s natural regulation system: homeostasis. We will focus on the main organs that handle carrying out homeostasis such as the cardiovascular system, lungs, live, and kidneys. Each component has specific jobs that all work together to perform the same function in the end. The cardiovascular system includes the heart, blood vessels, and blood. Each particular type of blood vessel has a different job in terms of how it handles blood. Arteries carry blood away from the heart and veins bring blood into the heart. Arterioles and venules are smaller version of arteries and veins. Capillaries connect arterioles and venules and filters materials and waste in the blood. All these components work along with the heartbeat to keep fresh nutrients and, oxygen high blood going to the heart, and oxygen low blood, and other waste materials pumping out of the heart.
The understand how the lungs work to maintain homeostasis we will observe a sliver of the lungs under a microscope. We will identify the alveoli and pulmonary capillaries. We will also identify the nuclei of the lung cell and the red blood cells, along with arteries and bronchioles. We will learn the process of gas exchange in the lungs through the concentration gradient.
Next we will learn the functions of the liver. The cells of the liver are called hepatic cells and the liver is divided into 2 main lobes and then smaller lobules. We will observe a model of the liver and identify the lobes, lobules, hepatic cells, hepatic vein, hepatic artery, hepatic portal vein, and bile duct. The liver produces urea and regulates blood composition: it makes the blood whatever it needs to be. In terms of glucose, it stores it as glycogen to maintain blood glucose levels. To understand blood glucose level after eating, we will experiment with mock solutions of different blood vessels such as the mesenteric arteries, hepatic portal vein, and the hepatic vein. Benedict’s reagent will be added to identify which tube (vessel) has the most glucose in it. Then they will be heated. The same will be done with solutions simulating the vessels before eating.
The last organ we will study is the kidneys. We will observe its structure and identify the renal cortex, renal medulla, and renal pelvis. We will learn how the kidneys produce urine through nephrons. We will study a diagram of the nephron and its pathways that help produce urine such as the afferent arteriole, glomerulus, glomerular capsule, efferent arteriole, peritubular capillary network, proximal convoluted tubule, loop of nephron, distal convoluted tubule, collecting duct, and renal pelvis. Each of these structures have a job in urine production. Along with producing urine, the kidneys excrete nitrogenous waste, regulate salt water balance, and regulate pH. There are 3 steps to urine formation: glomerular filtration (filters cells, proteins, glucose, amino acids, salts, urea and water from the blood), tubular reabsorption (reabsorbs water and salts to maintain blood volume and pH), and tubular secretion (give back necessary substances such as hydrogen and ammonia to blood). The kidneys regulate salt water balance through osmoregulation. Factors in this process include water input and output during consumption or sweating. This process goes hand in hand with regulating pH that can be tested in the urine.
The last experiment in the lab will involve examining a urine sample. We will attempt to diagnose the patient’s symptoms by dipping the sample strip in the urine to indicate high/low levels of leukocytes, pH, protein, glucose, ketones, and blood. By examining the results, we should be able to determine what is wrong with the patient.
By the end of this lab we should be able to understand the effects of gas exchange, pH maintenance, glucose levels, waster removal, and blood volumes in the lungs, liver, and kidneys. Varying levels of these factors in any of these major organs can result in different effects (illnesses/symptoms) that we should be able to understand.
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