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About the Author

STEVEN BASSETT holds a Masters of Science in the Biological Sciences, and is a professor of anatomy at Southeast Community College in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

CliffsNotes Anatomy and Physiology Quick Review

By Steven Bassett

John Wiley & Sons

Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-470-87874-3

Chapter One


Chapter Check-In

Understanding the basics of anatomy

Noting the basic chemical constituents that help form matter

Listing the types of bonds that form between two atoms

Understanding the difference between inorganic and organic compounds

Describing the four classes of organic molecules

Finding out how a chemical reaction occurs in a biological system

After you know the basic terms of anatomy but before studying the structure and function of the body, you need to have a basic knowledge of chemistry that will be pertinent to your studies. Some of the chemistry presented in this chapter may not be new to you. In fact, the organic molecules of carbohydrates, lipids (such as fats, cholesterol, and steroids), and proteins are the staples of a healthy diet and lifestyle. Learning these basic chemical components is essential for future studies in physiology, nutrition, and many other fields of scientific interest.

What Is Anatomy and Physiology?

Anatomy is the study of the structure and relationship between body parts. Physiology is the study of the function of body parts and the body as a whole. Some specializations within each of these sciences follow:

* Gross (macroscopic) anatomy is the study of body parts visible to the naked eye, such as the heart or bones.

* Histology is the study of tissues at the microscopic level.

* Cytology is the study of cells at the microscopic level.

* Neurophysiology is the study of how the nervous system functions.

Organizations of living systems

Living systems can be defined from various perspectives, from the broad (looking at the entire earth) to the minute (individual atoms). Each perspective provides information about how or why a living system functions:

* At the chemical level, atoms, molecules (combinations of atoms), and the chemical bonds between atoms provide the framework upon which all living activity is based. * The cell is the smallest unit of life. Organelles within the cell are specialized bodies performing specific cellular functions. Cells themselves may be specialized. Thus, there are nerve cells, bone cells, and muscle cells. * A tissue is a group of similar cells performing a common function. Muscle tissue, for example, consists of muscle cells.

* An organ is a group of different kinds of tissues working together to perform a particular activity. The heart is an organ composed of muscle, nervous, connective, and epithelial tissues.

* An organ system is two or more organs working together to accomplish a particular task. The digestive system, for example, involves the coordinated activities of many organs, including the mouth, stomach, small and large intestines, pancreas, and liver.

* An organism is a system possessing the characteristics of living things—the ability to obtain and process energy, the ability to respond to environmental changes, and the ability to reproduce.


A characteristic of all living systems is homeostasis, or the maintenance of stable, internal conditions within specific limits. In many cases, stable conditions are maintained by negative feedback.

In negative feedback, a sensing mechanism (a receptor) detects a change in conditions beyond specific limits. A control center, or integrator (often the brain), evaluates the change and activates a second mechanism (an effector) to correct the condition; for example, cells that either remove or add glucose to the blood in an effort to maintain homeostasis are effectors. Conditions are constantly monitored by receptors and evaluated by the control center. When the control center determines that conditions have returned to normal, corrective action is discontinued. Thus, in negative feedback, the variant condition is canceled, or negated, so that conditions are returned to normal.

The regulation of glucose concentration in the blood illustrates how homeostasis is maintained by negative feedback. After a meal, the absorption of glucose (a sugar) from the digestive tract increases the amount of glucose in the blood. In response, specialized cells in the pancreas (alpha cells) secrete the hormone insulin, which circulates through the blood and stimulates liver and muscle cells to absorb the glucose. Once blood glucose levels return to normal, insulin secretion stops. Later, perhaps after heavy exercise, blood glucose levels may drop because muscle cells absorb glucose from the blood and use it as a source of energy for muscle contraction. In response to falling blood glucose levels, another group of specialized pancreatic cells (beta cells) secretes a second hormone, glucagon. Glucagon stimulates the liver to release its stored glucose into the blood. When blood glucose levels return to normal, glucagon secretion stops.

Compare this with positive feedback, in which an action intensifies a condition so that it is driven farther beyond normal limits. Such positive feedback is uncommon but does occur during blood clotting, childbirth (labor contractions), lactation (where milk production increases in response to an increase in nursing), and sexual orgasm.

Anatomic terminology

In order to accurately identify areas of the body, clearly defined anatomical terms are used. These terms refer to the body in the anatomical position—standing erect, facing forward, arms down at the side, with the palms turned forward. In this position, the following apply:

* Directional terms are used to describe the relative position of one body part to another. These terms are listed in Table 1-1.

* Body planes and sections are used to describe how the body or an organ is divided into two parts:

* Sagittal planes divide a body or organ vertically into right and left parts. If the right and left parts are equal, the plane is a midsagittal plane; if they're unequal, the plane is a parasagittal plane. * A frontal (coronal) plane divides the body or organ vertically into front (anterior) and rear (posterior) parts.

* A horizontal (transverse) plane divides the body or organ horizontally into top (superior) and bottom (inferior) parts. This is also known as a cross-section. * Body cavities are enclosed areas that house organs. These cavities are organized into two groups:

* The posterior/dorsal body cavity includes the cranial cavity (which contains the brain) and the vertebral cavity (which contains the spinal cord).

* The anterior/ventral body cavity includes the thoracic cavity (which contains the lungs, each in its own pleural cavity, and the heart, in the pericardial cavity) and the abdominopelvic cavity (which contains the digestive organs in the abdominal cavity and the bladder and reproductive organs in the pelvic cavity). * Regional terms identify specific areas of the body. In some cases, a descriptive word is used to identify the location. For example, the axial region refers to the main axis of the body—the head, neck, and trunk. The appendicular region refers to the appendages—the arms and legs. Other regional terms use a body part to identify a particular region of the body. For example, the nasal region refers to the nose.

Atoms, Molecules, Ions, and Bonds

Matter is anything that takes up space and has mass. Matter consists of elements that possess unique physical and chemical properties. Elements are represented by chemical symbols of one or two letters, such as C (carbon), Ca (calcium), H (hydrogen), O (oxygen), N (nitrogen), and P (phosphorus). The smallest quantity of an element that still possesses the characteristics of that element is an atom. Atoms chemically bond together to form molecules, and the composition of a molecule is given by its chemical formula (O2, H2O, C6H12O6). When the atoms in a molecule are different, the molecule is a compound (H2O and C6H12O6, but not O2).

The atoms of the elements consist of a nucleus containing positively charged protons and neutrally charged neutrons. Negatively charged electrons are arranged outside the nucleus. The atoms of each element differ by their number of protons, neutrons, and electrons. For example, hydrogen has one proton, one electron, and no neutrons, while carbon has six protons, six neutrons, and six electrons. The number and arrangement of electrons of an atom determine the kinds of chemical bonds that it forms and how it reacts with other atoms to form molecules. There are three kinds of chemical bonds:

* Ionic bonds form between two atoms when one or more electrons are completely transferred from one atom to the other. The atom that gains electrons has an overall negative charge, and the atom that donates electrons has an overall positive charge. Because of their positive or negative charge, these atoms are ions. The attraction of the positive ion to the negative ion constitutes the ionic bond. Sodium (Na) and chlorine (Cl) form ions (Na+ and Cl-), which attract one another to form the ionic bond in a sodium chloride (NaCl) molecule. A plus or minus sign following a chemical symbol indicates an ion with a positive or negative charge, which results from the loss or gain of one or more electrons, respectively. Numbers preceding the charges indicate ions whose charges are greater than one (Ca2+, PO43-).

* Covalent bonds form when electrons are shared between atoms. That is, neither atom completely retains possession of the electrons (as happens with atoms that form ionic bonds). A single covalent bond occurs when two electrons are shared (one from each atom). A double or triple covalent bond is formed when four or six electrons are shared, respectively. When the two atoms sharing electrons are exactly the same, as in a molecule of oxygen gas (two oxygen atoms to form O2), the electrons are shared equally, and the bond is a nonpolar covalent bond. When the atoms are different, such as in a molecule of water (H2O), the larger nucleus of the oxygen atom exerts a stronger pull on the shared electrons than does the single proton that makes up either hydrogen nucleus. In this case, a polar covalent bond is formed because the unequal distribution of the electrons creates areas within the molecule that have either a negative or positive charge (or pole), as shown in Figure 1-1.

* Hydrogen bonds are weak bonds that form between the partially positively charged hydrogen atom in one covalently bonded molecule and the partially negatively charged area of another covalently bonded molecule. An individual water molecule develops a partially positively charged end and a partially negatively charged end; see Figure 1-1(a). Hydrogen bonds form between adjacent water molecules. Since the atoms in water form a polar covalent bond, the positive area in H2O around the hydrogen proton attracts the negative areas in an adjacent H2O molecule. This attraction forms the hydrogen bond; see Figure 1-1(b).

Inorganic Compounds

Inorganic compounds are typically compounds without carbon atoms. H2O, O2, and NaCl are examples of inorganic compounds. Water is the most abundant substance in the body. Its abundance is due partly to its unique chemical properties created by the influence of its hydrogen bonds. These properties include the following:

* Solvency. Water is an excellent solvent. Ionic substances are soluble in water (they dissolve) because the poles of the polar water molecules pull them apart, forming ions. Polar covalent substances are also water-soluble because they share the same hydrogen bonding as water shares with itself. For this reason, polar covalent substances are called hydrophilic (water loving). Because they lack charged poles, nonpolar covalent substances do not dissolve in water and are called hydrophobic (water fearing).

* Cohesion. Because water molecules are held together by hydrogen bonds, water molecules have a high degree of cohesion, or the ability to stick together. As a result, water has strong surface tension. This tension, in turn, gives water strong capillary action, allowing water to creep up narrow tubing. These qualities contribute to the movement of water through capillaries.

* Stability. The temperature of water is stable. You must add a relatively large amount of energy to warm (and boil) it and remove a large amount of energy to cool (and freeze) it. So, when sweat evaporates from your forehead, a large amount of heat is taken with it and you are cooled.

Organic Molecules

Organic compounds are those that have carbon atoms. In living systems, large organic molecules, called macromolecules, can consist of hundreds or thousands of atoms. Most macromolecules are polymers, molecules that consist of a single unit (monomer) repeated many times.

Four of carbon's six electrons are available to form bonds with other atoms. Thus, you will always see four lines connecting a carbon atom to other atoms, each line representing a pair of shared electrons (one electron from carbon and one from another atom). Complex molecules can be formed by stringing carbon atoms together in a straight line or by connecting carbons together to form rings. The presence of nitrogen, oxygen, and other atoms adds variety to these carbon molecules.

Four important classes of organic molecules—carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids—are discussed in the following sections.


Carbohydrates are classified into three groups according to the number of sugar (or saccharide) molecules present:

* A monosaccharide is the simplest kind of carbohydrate. It is a single sugar molecule, such as a fructose or glucose (Figure 1-2). Sugar molecules have the formula (CH2O)n, where n is any number from 3 to 8. For glucose, n is 6, and its formula is C6H12O6. The formula for fructose is also C6H12O6, but as you can see in Figure 1-2, the placement of the carbon atoms is different. Very small changes in the position of certain atoms, such as those that distinguish glucose and fructose, can dramatically change the chemistry of a molecule.

* A disaccharide consists of two linked sugar molecules. Glucose and fructose, for example, link to form sucrose (see Figure 1-2).

* A polysaccharide consists of a series of connected monosaccharides. Thus, a polysaccharide is a polymer because it consists of repeating units of monosaccharide. Starch is a polysaccharide made up of a thousand or more glucose molecules and is used in plants for energy storage. A similar polysaccharide, glycogen, is used in animals for the same purpose.


Lipids are a class of substances that are insoluble in water (and other polar solvents), but are soluble in nonpolar substances (such as ether or chloroform). There are three major groups of lipids:

* Triglycerides include fats, oils, and waxes. They consist of three fatty acids bonded to a glycerol molecule (Figure 1-3). Fatty acids are hydrocarbons (chains of covalently bonded carbons and hydrogens) with a carboxyl group (–COOH) at one end of the chain. A saturated fatty acid has a single covalent bond between each pair of carbon atoms, and each carbon has two hydrogens bonded to it. You can remember this fact by thinking that each carbon is "saturated" with hydrogen. An unsaturated fatty acid occurs when a double covalent bond replaces a single covalent bond and two hydrogen atoms (Figure 1-3). Polyunsaturated fatty acids have many of these double bonds.

* Phospholipids look just like lipids except that one of the fatty acid chains is replaced by a phosphate (–P043–) group (Figure 1-4). Additional chemical groups (indicated by R in Figure 1-4) are usually attached to the phosphate group. Since the fatty acid "tails" of phospholipids are nonpolar and hydrophobic and the glycerol and phosphate "heads" are polar and hydrophilic, phospholipids are often found oriented in sandwichlike formations with the hydrophobic heads oriented toward the outside. Such formations of phospholipids provide the structural foundation of cell membranes.

* Steroids are characterized by a backbone of four linked carbon rings (Figure 1-5). Examples of steroids include cholesterol (a component of cell membranes) and certain hormones, including testosterone and estrogen.


Excerpted from CliffsNotes Anatomy and Physiology Quick Reviewby Steven Bassett Copyright © 2011 by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Excerpted by permission of John Wiley & Sons. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Cliffs Notes; 2nd edition (July 8, 2011)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 368 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0470878746
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0470878743
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 12.6 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.2 x 0.83 x 8.2 inches
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