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In this video, we'll take a closer look at feedback loops, how they tie into the body's mechanism of internal regulation, and what happens when these mechanisms fail. A system is shaped and changed by the nature and flow of information into, within, and out of the system.


Hi, my name is Leah Okumura and I am a Technical Instructor in the Biology Department at MIT. Before watching this video, you should be familiar with the concept that your body is a tightly regulated environment. After watching this video, you will be able identify the general components of a feedback loop, examples of negative and positive feedback loops in the body, and describe how feedback loops are vital to healthy function and survival. Our bodies rely heavily on feedback loops to control and regulate important biochemical and physiological functions. There are two types of feedback loops in biology: negative feedback loops, and positive feedback loops.
The rapid muscle contractions from shivering generate heat within the body and warm you back up.
Thermoregulation serves to control our body's temperature much like a thermostat regulating the temperature of a room.
Because the response in this case is always to reverse a given change in body temperature, we call this a negative feedback loop. When a change occurs in a system, a positive feedback loop acts to increase or exacerbate it. Contractions of the uterus during childbirth stimulate the release of a hormone, oxytocin, which in turn induces more uterine contractions. The self-amplifying nature of the positive feedback loop is repeated over and over with increasing intensity until the baby is born. Here are a few well-known physiological processes and parameters that involve feedback loops.
Pause the video here and determine which ones involve negative feedback and which ones involve positive feedback.
Negative feedback loops minimize deviations within a system, keeping its parameters close to a desired set-point.
The control of blood glucose, blood pressure, and breathing rates rely heavily on negative feedback loops.
Positive feedback loops, on the other hand, tend to destabilize a system by amplifying a stimulus towards an extreme. This is important in irreversible processes such as action potential generation, blood clotting, lactation, and ovulation. Based on the extent of deviation, the control center decides on the appropriate response and sends signals to an effector.
Effectors can be muscles, organs, or any other component that receives signals from the control center. Thermoreceptors continually monitor our temperature and pass this information to the control center in the brain, called the hypothalamus.
The hypothalamus then sends out signals to effectors in the body to initiate corrective mechanisms when our temperatures are too high or too low. When we are too cold, signals are sent to the tissues to increase metabolism, and to the muscles to induce shivering. Signals are also sent to constrict blood vessels and to raise skin hairs to minimize heat loss.
Both negative and positive feedback loops are equally important for the healthy functioning of one's body.


Let's look at blood glucose regulation, and see what happens if the feedback mechanisms do not work as they should. Thus, in a healthy individual, glucose levels are tightly regulated to maintain a fairly constant and optimal supply in the bloodstream. Circulating levels of glucose are monitored by specialized beta cells in islets of Langerhans in the pancreas.
In response to high glucose levels, for example after a large meal, these same beta cells release a hormone called insulin into the bloodstream. Insulin is transported to the rest of the body, whereupon it stimulates the cells to take up and adsorb glucose. These actions act to remove glucose from the blood, thus lowering blood glucose levels to the normal set-point. Pause the video and identify the receptor, control center, and effectors in this particular feedback system.
These same cells also act as the control center and send signals to the effectors in the form of insulin. The effectors are the cells of the body that increase their uptake and storage of glucose in response to insulin.
Now let's see how failure of the body to regulate blood glucose levels results in a disease known as diabetes. In Type I diabetes, also known as early-onset diabetes, the insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas are destroyed due to an autoimmune reaction. The lack of insulin means that the cells of the body do not take up glucose in response to increasing glucose levels.
In Type II diabetes, or late-onset diabetes, insulin is still produced but the body's cells no longer respond to it.
The inability of cells to use insulin properly means that high glucose levels in the blood persist with time.
Type I and Type II diabetes have very similar symptoms but they arise from different causes. In Type I diabetes, there is a lack of signaling between the control center and the effectors. The end result is the same in both forms of the disease - glucose accumulates to toxic levels in the blood. This tips the scales towards imbalance, increasing the risk of illness and progressive damage to the body. In this video, you learned about negative and positive feedback loops, their general components, and how they regulate the flow of information. We identified feedback loops in the body and examined their role in childbirth, thermoregulation, and blood glucose regulation.
We hope that you will apply your knowledge of feedback loops and the consequences of their failure in the study of other biological processes and diseases.



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Comments

  1. 30.05.2015 at 14:21:43


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  3. 30.05.2015 at 17:12:42


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  5. 30.05.2015 at 12:40:55


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