Each cell is surrounded by a plasma membrane that separates the cytoplasmic contents of the cell, or the intracellular fluid, from the fluid outside the cell, the extracellular fluid. An important homeostatic function of this plasma membrane is to serve as a permeability barrier that insulates or protects the cytoplasm from immediate changes in the surrounding environment. Furthermore, it allows the cell to maintain a cytoplasmic composition very different from that of the extracellular fluid; the functions of neurons and muscle cells depend on this difference. The plasma membrane also contains many enzymes and other components such as antigens and receptors that allow cells to interact with other cells, neurotransmitters, blood-borne substances such as hormones, and various other chemical substances, such as drugs.

Essentials of Human Physiology

Essentials of Human Physiology

This ebook provides an introductory explanation of the workings of the human body, with an effort to draw connections between the body systems and explain their interdependencies. A framework for the book is homeostasis and how the body maintains balance within each system. This is intended as a first introduction to physiology for a college-level course.

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