Homeostasis Definition

“Homeostasis is the state of steady internal chemical and physical conditions maintained by living systems. It is referred to as the mechanism to maintain a stable internal environment instead of changes taking place in the external environment.”

The body controls homeostasis by controlling temperature, blood pH, and amount of blood in glucose.


Homeostasis Meaning

A human being is shaped by millions of cells that are working together for the maintenance of all organs in a human body. All cells require quite a similar metabolism but they perform different functions. For the well-being of the entire human organism, every individual cell needs to maintain the internal environment like glucose, oxygen, mineral ions and waste removal. This process that a body maintains internally is collectively called as homeostasis.

The theory of homeostasis was first introduced by a French Physiologist Claude Bernard in the year 1865, and the term was first used in 1926 by Walter Bradford Cannon.

What is Homeostasis?

Homeostasis is a property of a human biological system where the self-regulating process tends to maintain the balance for survival. The regulation takes place in a defined internal environment. For example- the presence of glucose in blood plasma, regulation of body temperature, extracellular fluids of an animal despite changes- what the animal has eaten or what it is doing. Every variable is controlled by homeostasis together to maintain life.

In simple terms, it could be referred to as a balance in a system to maintain a stable internal environment for the survival of the animal. If the homeostasis regulates successfully, life continues or if unsuccessful, death might occur.

The regulation of homeostasis consist of three mechanisms:

  1. Receptor
  2. Control Center
  3. Effector

Receptor: The receptor acts as a receiver. It receives changes in the environment.

Control Center: The Control Center is also known as an integration centre. It receives all the information that the receptor has collected from the changes in the environment.

Effector: As the name suggests, it responds to the commands of the control centre. It could either oppose or change the stimulus.

The entire process continuously works to maintain homeostasis regulation. For instance – The regulation of body temperature- The blood vessels (effector) and sweat glands in our skin maintains the temperature. There are receptors in the skin that communicates information to the brain which acts as the control centre.

Also Read: Thermoregulation

Homeostasis Breakdown

The failure of homeostasis function in an internal environment will result in many diseases. A functional component of homeostasis can malfunction due to an inherited defect or by affected disease.

A small number of homeostasis has the ability to ensuring a safer life and inbuilt redundancy even if a homeostasis component malfunction. However, in other cases, the malfunction in any component of homeostasis leads to severe disease or death.

Body Systems and Homeostasis

The body system participates in maintaining homeostasis regulations. The purpose of the body system is to describe several controlling mechanisms where every system is contributed to homeostasis.

Listed below are the tables which describe how different organs perform different functions to maintain the internal body environment.

Formed Elements
Name Function
Platelets It assists blood clotting.
Red blood cells Helps in transporting hydrogen and oxygen ions.
White blood cells It fights against infections.


Component Function
Nutrients Required for cellular metabolism.
Proteins Create osmotic pressure, aids clotting, and helps buffer blood.
Hormones Known as chemical messengers.
Water Provides fluid environment.
Salts Helps in metabolic activity and aids buffer blood.
Wastes Produced by cellular metabolism.


Nervous System
Central Nervous System
Cerebrum Consciousness, creativity, thought, morals, memory,etc.
Lower portions Reception of sensory data, coordination of muscular activity, homeostasis.
Spinal cord Automatic reflex actions.
Peripheral Nervous System
Autonomic system Those cranial and spinal motor nerves that control internal organs.
Cranial nerves, spinal nerves Carry sensory information to motor impulses from the CNS.


Major Endocrine Glands and Their Major Hormones
Name Hormone Function
Adrenal medulla Epinephrine and norepinephrine Stimulates fight or flight reaction.
Adrenal cortex Glucocorticoids           (e.g., cortisol) Promotes gluconeogenesis.
Mineralocorticoids (e.g., aldosterone) Promotes sodium reabsorption by kidneys.
Anterior pituitary Thyroid-stimulating Stimulates thyroid  gland.
Adrenocorticotropic Stimulates adrenal cortex gland.
Gonadotropic Stimulates gonads.
Gonads Androgens (male) Estrogens and progesterone (female) Promotes secondary sexual characteristics.
Hypothalamus Synthesizes and secretes Hypothalamic-releasing hormones Regulates anterior pituitary hormones
Posterior pituitary Antidiuretic Promotes water reabsorption by kidneys.
Parathyroid Parathyroid Maintains blood calcium and phosphorus levels.
Thyroid Thyroxin Increases metabolic rates.
Pancreas Insulin Lowers blood sugar level.
Glucagon Raises blood sugar level.

Examples of Homeostasis

  1. Arterial blood pressure homeostasis
  2. Blood glucose homeostasis
  3. Blood oxygen content homeostasis
  4. Blood partial pressure of oxygen and carbon dioxide homeostasis
  5. Core body temperature homeostasis
  6. Extracellular fluid pH homeostasis
  7. Extracellular potassium concentration homeostasis
  8. Extracellular sodium concentration homeostasis
  9. Plasma ionized calcium homeostasis
  10. The volume of body water homeostasis

Also Read: Osmoregulation

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Frequently Asked Questions

What do you understand by homeostasis?

Homeostasis is the ability to maintain internal stability in an organism in response to the environmental changes. The internal temperature of the human body is the best example of homeostasis.

Which body systems help to maintain homeostasis?

The endocrine system and the nervous system are very important in maintaining the homeostasis of the body. However, there are other organs that play a role in maintaining homeostasis but the major role is played by the nervous system and the endocrine system.

How is homeostasis important for our body?

The cells depend upon the body’s environment for their functions. To maintain these conditions homeostasis is very important because if the body conditions are not proper, many processes such as osmosis will not function properly.

What are the main components of homeostasis?

Homeostasis involves three components- the receptor, the control centre, and the effector. The receptor receives information on the changing environment, and the control centre processes the information received by the receptor.

What is the major function of homeostasis?

The main function of homeostasis is to maintain a balance within the body regarding its temperature, salt concentration, food intake and water concentration.

How does the cell maintain homeostasis in the body?

The cells perform the following activities to maintain homeostasis in the body- They are able to obtain and use energy, exchange materials, make new cells, and eliminate wastes.

What role does liver play in homeostasis?

Our liver plays an important role in blood glucose homeostasis. When the blood glucose level rises after a meal, the liver removes glucose from the blood and stores it in the form of glycogen.

How does the skin help in maintaining homeostasis?

If the body temperature is very high, the skin forms sweat and blood vessels near the skin surface. This helps in decreasing body temperature. Thus, the skin maintains homeostasis.

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