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Glossary of Physiology Terms
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Abbreviation:
ACh

Definition:
Acetylcholine (ACh) is a chemical neurotransmitter used by the central nervous system (CNS) as well as the peripheral nervous system (PNS). Acetylcholine is a classical neurotransmitter and, in fact, it was the first of the classic neurotransmitters to be discovered. It was discovered in 1914 by Henry Hallett Dale while conducting experiments on the heart.

Acetylcholine is the neurotransmitter used by the somatic division of the nervous system at the neuromuscular junction (where a somatic motor neuron makes synaptic contact with a skeletal muscle cell). Acetylcholine is also used extensively by both branches of the autonomic nervous system; sympathetic and parasympathetic. It is the primary neurotransmitter released in autonomic ganglia by preganglionic autonomic neurons. It is also the primary neurotransmitter released by parasympathetic postganglionic neurons. A few sympathetic postganglionic neurons also release acetylcholine. The diverse actions of acetylcholine are exerted via the activation of nicotinic and muscarinic ACh receptors.

Other resources:
Acetylcholine (Wikipedia)



Definition:
An enzyme found in the synaptic cleft at cholinergic synapses. It degrades acetylcholine to choline and acetate and, thus, terminates the action of acetylcholine at the synapse. Neither choline nor acetate can bind to acetylcholine receptors (nicotinic or muscarinic).



Definition:
Refers to neurons, synapses, or receptors where acetylcholine is used as the neurotransmitter.

For example, cholinergic neurons release acetylcholine as their neurotransmitter.

In cholinergic synapses, acetylcholine is released from the presynaptic neuron, and it acts on acetylcholine receptors in the plasma membrane of the postsynaptic cell.

Cholinergic receptors are those that respond to acetylcholine as the physiological ligand. The two major types are nicotinic and muscarinic cholinergic receptors (may also be referred to as nicotinic and muscarinic acetylcholine receptors).

Cholinergic drugs are compounds that mimic the action of acetylcholine by binding to and activating cholinergic receptors.



Definition:
Galactorrhea

See:
Galactorrhea



Definition:
The Hodgkin cycle represents a positive feedback loop in neurons, where an initial membrane depolarization from the resting value (∼ −70 mV) to the threshold value (∼ −50 mV) leads to rapid depolarization of the membrane potential to approach the equilibrium potential for Na+ (VNa ≈ +60 mV). The voltage-gated Na+ channels of neurons are responsible for the Hodgkin cycle.

See the figure depicting the Hodgkin cycle.

See also:
Important Features of the Neuronal Action Potential



Definition:
A chemical messenger molecule secreted (i.e., released) by endocrine cells within endocrine glands.

By definition, a hormone molecule is released into the bloodstream and travels throughout the body to find its target cells. Teget cells may be within the intravascular compartment (i.e., within blood vessels), but most hormones have target cells in tissues outside of the blood vessels.

Related glossary terms/phrases:
Endocrine cell
Endocrine gland



Definition:
Neurohormones are chemical messenger molecules that are released by neurons, but enter the bloodstream where they travel to distant target sites within the body. Therefore, neurohormones share characteristics with both neurotransmitters and hormones. Similar to neurotransmitters, neurohormones are released by neurons. Similar to hormones, neurohormones travel in the bloodstream.

Two well-known examples of neurohormones are oxytocin and the antidiuretic hormone (also referred to as vasopressin).

Related glossary terms/phrases:
Hormone
Neurotransmitter



Definition:
Surgical removal of one or both ovaries.

Also known as ovariectomy

See:
Ovariectomy



Definition:
Refers to that part of the action potential where the membrane potential is positive (inside with respect to the outside).

See figure.

See also:
Neuronal Action Potential - Important Features of the Neuronal Action Potential



Abbreviation:
PCG

Definition:
A recording of the sounds produced by the heart during the cardiac cycle. The main sounds recorded are those associated with turbulent blood flow caused by the closure of heart valves.



Definition:
Sub-threshold (or subthreshold) refers to a stimulus that is too small in magnitude to produce an action potential in excitable cells.

In general, a sub-threshold stimulus leads to the depolarization of the membrane, but the magnitude of the depolarization is not large enough to reach the threshold voltage. Therefore, sub-threshold stimuli do not elicit action potentials.

Related glossary terms/phrases:
Threshold
Supra-threshold

See also:
Neuronal Action Potential - Introduction



Definition:
Supra-threshold (or suprathreshold) refers to a stimulus that is large enough in magnitude to produce an action potential in excitable cells.

In general, a supra-threshold stimulus leads to the depolarization of the membrane, and the magnitude of the depolarization is larger than that necessary to simply reach the threshold voltage. Therefore, supra-threshold stimuli elicit action potentials.

Related glossary terms/phrases:
Threshold
Sub-threshold

See also:
Neuronal Action Potential - Introduction



Definition:
The membrane voltage that must be reached in an excitable cell (e.g., neuron or muscle cell) during a depolarization in order to generate an action potential. At the threshold voltage, voltage-gated channels become activated. Threshold is approximately −50 to −40 mV in most excitable cells.

Related glossary terms/phrases:
Sub-threshold
Supra-threshold

See also:
Neuronal Action Potential - Introduction



Definition:
Refers to the hyperpolarization phase of the action potential.

It is also referred to as hyperpolarizing afterpotential.

See figure.

Related glossary terms/phrases:
Hyperpolarization

See also:
Important Features of the Neuronal Action Potential



Definition:
The absolute refractory period refers to a period during the action potential. This is the time during which another stimulus given to the neuron (no matter how strong) will not lead to a second action potential. The absolute refractory period starts immediately after the initiation of the action potential and lasts until after the peak of the action potential. Following this period, the relative refractory period begins.

Related glossary terms/phrases:
Relative refractory period

See also:
Neuronal Action Potential - Refractory Periods



Definition:
Acetylcholine

See:
Acetylcholine



Definition:
The action potential is a rapid and reversible reversal of the electrical potential difference across the plasma membrane of excitable cells such as neurons, muscle cells and some endocrine cells. In a neuronal action potential, the membrane potential rapidly changes from its resting level of approximately -70 mV to around +50 mV and, subsequently, rapidly returns to the resting level again. The neuronal action potential forms an important basis for information processing, propagation, and transmission. In muscle cells, the action potential precedes, and is necessary to bring about, muscle contraction. Some endocrine cells also exhibit action potentials, where the excitation leads to hormone secretion.

The action potential is also referred to as the electrical impulse or nervous impulse.

Related glossary terms/phrases:
Graded potential

See also:
Neuronal Action Potential



Definition:
An agonist is a molecule that binds to a receptor and activates a physiological response similar to that induced by the naturally occurring physiological ligand of the receptor. Therefore, agonist binding to a receptor mimics the action of the natural ligand.

For example, acetylcholine (ACh) is the naturally occurring physiological ligand that activates nicotinic and muscarinic acetylcholine receptors. Nicotine is an agonist of nicotinic ACh receptors (nAChR), and muscarine is an agonist of muscarinic ACh receptors (mAChR).

Related glossary terms/phrases:
Antagonist



Definition:
An antagonist is a molecule that binds to a receptor, however, it does not activate the physiological response induced by the naturally occurring physiological ligand of the receptor. Moreover, once bound to the receptor, an antagonist prevents the physiological ligand from activating the receptor. Therefore, antagonist binding to a receptor prevents or blocks the action of the natural ligand.

For example, acetylcholine (ACh) is the naturally occurring physiological ligand that activates nicotinic and muscarinic acetylcholine receptors. Tubocurarine and succinylcholine are antagonists of the nicotinic ACh receptor (nAChR), and atropine is an antagonist of the muscarinic ACh receptor (mAChR).

Related glossary terms/phrases:
Agonist



Definition:
Without a nucleus. In particular, it refers to a cell that lacks a nucleus. For example, prokaryotic cells are anucleate. In addition, red blood cells (erythrocytes) are anucleate.



Definition:
Atropine is a blocker (i.e., inhibitor) of muscarinic acetylcholine receptors. Therefore, atropine blocks the action of postganglionic parasympathetic neurons.



Definition:
The ability of a tissue or organ to regulate its own function without extrinsic neural or hormonal input.

For example, in the kidneys, autoregulation ensures relatively constant blood flow and pressure through the kidney tubules in order to maintain a fairly constant glomerular filtration rate (GFR).



Definition:
Concave on both sides of a structure, usually referring to a disc or a lens.

Of particular importance to physiology is the structure of mature red blood cells (erythrocytes), which is a flattened cell that has assume a biconcave shape. It is thought that the biconcave shape of red blood cells helps with the flow property of blood through blood vessels.



Definition:
Another name for the parafollicular cell type within the thyroid gland. C cells are situated outside of the thyroid follicles and are interspersed between the follicles. C cells are responsible for producing the hormone calcitonin.

See:
Parafollicular cell



Definition:
Refers to a conformational change of a channel protein by which the channel goes from the open state to the inactive state. The inactive state refers to a conformational state in which ions are not allowed to permeate the channel pore. Thus, with respect to ion permeability, the inactive state is similar to the close state of the channel. Ions cannot permeate the channel pore either in the closed or inactive state. However, the channel assumes very distinct and different conformations in the inactive state and closed state.

See also:
Neuronal Action Potential - Important Features of the Neuronal Action Potential



Definition:
Refers to the concentration gradient of an ion or molecule. The concentration gradient may exist across a biological membrane, where the concentration is higher on one side of the membrane compared to the other side. Concentration gradient may also exist in a solution without an apparent barrier separating the area of higher concentration from the area of lower concentration. In both cases, the free energy that results from the concentration difference drives the movement of the ion/molcule from the area of higher concentration to the area of lower concentration. In free solution, the ion/molecule simply diffuses down its gradient. Movement across a biological membrane is more complicated and is a function of lipid solubility of the ion/molecule as well as the presence of channels or transport proteins that can allow the ion/molecule to cross the membrane (see Lipid Bilayer Permeability and Summary of Membrane Transport Processes).

Related glossary terms/phrases:
Electrical gradient
Electrochemical gradient



Definition:
Endocrine cell of the anterior pituitary gland responsible for synthesizing and releasing adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH).



Definition:
Mental retardation, dwarfism, and abnormal bone formation caused by thyroid hormone deficiency during fetal development.



Definition:
A potent blocker of nicotinic cholinergic receptors (nicotinic acetylcholine receptor, nAChR) found at the neuromuscular junction. At small doses, curare can lead to muscle weakness. At high doses, curare can lead to paralysis of skeletal muscles, which would also result in asphyxiation (and ultimately death) due to paralysis of the diaphragm. Curare was commonly the active agent of poison arrow.

Other resources:
See Wikipedia



Definition:
The enzyme found in target tissues of the thyroid hormones that converts thyroxine (also known as tetraiodothyronine or T4) to triiodothyronine (T3).

Specifically, 5'-deiodinase converts T4 to the active form of the thyroid hormone, T3.

5-Deiodinase converts T4 to the inactive form of the thyroid hormone, reverse T3 (rT3).



Definition:
Endocrine cells are responsible for producing and releasing hormone molecules into the bloodstream. Endocrine cells are typically grouped together in organs referred to as endocrine glands.

Related glossary terms/phrases:
Endocrine gland
Hormone



Definition:
Endocrine glands contain clusters of endocrine cells, whose function is to is to release hormones into the bloodstream.

Endocrine glands are ductless glands in that their secretions do not enter a duct (as for example with salivary glands). Rather, endocrine glands release their secretions (i.e., messenger molecules) into the interstitial fluid in highly vascularized regions, where the molecules then enter the bloodstream. The chemical messenger molecule that is released into the bloodstream is referred to as a hormone.

Related glossary terms/phrases:
Endocrine cell
Hormone



Definition:
Milk or milky discharge from the breasts that is not associated with childbirth or breastfeeding (nursing).

Also spelled galactorrhoea.



Definition:
Goiter is an enlargement of the thyroid gland caused most commonly by iodine deficiency in the diet. Iodine deficiency leads to low levels of thyroid hormone production, and a reduction in thyroid hormone negative feedback on the hypothalamus and the anterior pituitary leads to a compensatory rise in the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). Enlargement of the thyroid gland is, therefore, caused by abnormally high circulating levels of TSH, which has a strong trophic effect on the thyroid gland.



Definition:
Endocrine cell of the anterior pituitary gland responsible for synthesizing and releasing follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH).



Definition:
Refers to synaptic or receptor potentials that can vary in amplitude and direction. Graded potentials can be depolarizing or hyperpolarizing and do not have a threshold.

Related glossary terms/phrases:
Action potential

See also:
Neuronal Action Potential - Introduction
Neuronal Action Potential - Graded Potentials versus Action Potentials



Definition:
The H zone is in the center of the A band where there is no overlap between the thick and the thin filaments. Therefore, in the H zone, the filaments consist only of the thick filament. The H zone becomes smaller as the muscle contracts and the sarcomere shortens. The center of the H zone is at the M line, which is also at the center of the sarcomere.

Related glossary terms/phrases:
A band
I band
M line
Z disk



Definition:
A type of primary hypothyroidism, Hashimoto's disease is an autoimmune disorder, in which anti-thyroid antibodies destroy the ability of the thyroid gland to produce the thyroid hormones. Antibodies against thyroid peroxidase (TPO) and thyroglobulin (Tg) are often seen in this disorder.

Hashimoto's disease is also known as Hashimoto's thyroiditis.

Related glossary terms/phrases:
Hypothyroidism
Primary hypothyroidism



Definition:
Refers to the hyperpolarization phase of the action potential.

It is also referred to as undershoot.

See figure.

Related glossary terms/phrases:
Hyperpolarization

See also:
Important Features of the Neuronal Action Potential



Definition:
Hyperthyroidism refers to a pathophysiological condition in which the thyroid gland produces and releases abnormally high levels of the thyroid hormones (T3 and T4).

The symptoms of hyperthyroidism may include high metabolic rate, weight loss, nervousness, excess heat production, tachycardia, and tremor.

Two main forms of hyperthyroidism exist: (1) Primary hyperthyroidism, and (2) Secondary hyperthyroidism.

In primary hyperthyroidism, the thyroid gland produces high levels of the thyroid hormones, either as a result of a secretory tumor of the thyroid gland, or under the control of thyroid stimulating immunoglobulins (such as in Graves' disease).

Secondary hypothyroidism is caused by high levels of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) produced by the anterior pituitary gland. TSH then stimulates the thyroid gland to produce excessive amounts of the thyroid hormones.

Related glossary terms/phrases:
Hypothyroidism
Euthyroidism



Definition:
Underactivity of the anterior pituitary gland characterized by reduced secretion of anterior pituitary hormones.



Definition:
Hypothyroidism refers to a pathophysiological condition in which the thyroid gland does not produce sufficient amounts of the thyroid hormones (underactive thyroid), leading to abnormally low levels of the thyroid hormones (T3 and T4).

The symptoms of hypothyroidism may include reduced metabolic rate, chronic fatigue, weight gain, myxedema, and depression.

Three main forms of hypothyroidism exist: (1) Primary hypothyroidism, (2) Secondary hypothyroidism, and (3) Tertiary hypothyroidism.

In primary hypothyroidism, the thyroid gland itself is incapable of producing normal levels of the thyroid hormones.

Secondary hypothyroidism is caused by low levels of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). TSH, produced by the anterior pituitary gland, is required to stimulate the thyroid gland to produce the thyroid hormones.

Tertiary hypothyroidism is caused by low levels of thyrotropin releasing hormone (TRH). TRH, produced by the hypothalamus, is required to stimulate the anterior pituitary gland to produce TSH which, in turn, is required to stimulate the thyroid gland to produce the thyroid hormones.

Related glossary terms/phrases:
Primary hypothyroidism
Secondary hypothyroidism
Tertiary hypothyroidism

Hyperthyroidism
Euthyroidism



Definition:
Describes a condition in which there is a decrease in oxygen supply to tissues. It may be generalized (whole body) or local (e.g., brain).

Related glossary terms/phrases:
Anoxia
Anoxemia
Hypoxemia



Definition:
The I band is the region of a striated muscle sarcomere that contains thin filaments. This region is closest to the Z disk, and is the lightest region of the sarcomere when viewed in under the light or electron microscope. The I band is occupied by the thin filaments only. Each Z disk runs through the middle of the I band. Therefore, half of each I band belongs to one sarcomere, and the other half belongs to the neighboring sarcomere. The I band shortens as the muscle contracts and the sarcomere shortens.

Related glossary terms/phrases:
A band
H zone
M line
Z disk



Definition:
Refers to the ability of the thyroid gland to accumulate iodide (I) against a steep electrochemical gradient. While the iodide concentration in plasma and interstitial fluid is approximately 300 nL, iodide concentration in the cytoplasm of thyroid follicular cells, as well as the lumen of thyroid follicles can be many folds higher. The protein that enables iodide transport into the thyroid gland against an electrochemical gradient is the Na+/iodide symporter (NIS), which is located in the basolateral membrane of thyroid follicular cells. Within the lumen of thyroid follicles, iodide is incorporated into the tyrosine residues of thyroglobulin during thyroid hormone biosynthesis, hence, allowing very high iodide concentrations in the colloid.



Definition:
The tapping sounds heard through a stethoscope placed over a partially compressed peripheral artery.

For the purpose of non-invasive blood pressure measurements, the stethoscope is usually placed on the skin overlying the brachial artery just distal to an inflated pressure cuff wrapped around the upper arm. As the pressure cuff is gradually deflated, the Korotkoff sounds result from the pulsations of the blood through the partially constricted brachial artery. With each ventricular systole, blood is forced to flow through the partially constricted brachial artery, and the turbulence in blood flow leads to the generation of the Korotkoff sounds. When the pressure cuff is fully deflated, flow through the artery resumes its normal laminar flow and, at that time, the Korotkoff sounds disappear.



Definition:
Neurotoxins are chemical molecules that have an adverse effect on neuron function and, thus, disrupt the normal function of the nervous system. Neurotoxins could be small molecules or peptides and can be derived from a variety of invertebrate and vertebrate animals, as well as plant species.

The following is a short list of some examples of neurotoxins:

α-Bungarotoxin: A peptide neurotoxin that inhibits the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor.

Chlorotoxin: A peptide neurotoxin that inhibits chloride channels.

α-Conotoxin: A peptide neurotoxin that inhibits the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor.

δ-Conotoxin: A peptide neurotoxin that inhibits voltage-gated sodium channels.

w-Conotoxin: A peptide neurotoxin that inhibits N-type voltage-gated calcium channels.

Picrotoxin: Inhibits GABAA receptor chloride channels.

Tetrodotoxin: Inhibitor of neuronal voltage-gated sodium channels.



Definition:
Chemical messenger molecules released by neurons into the synaptic cleft.

Neurotransmitter molecules may be small molecules such as glutamate, γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), acetylcholine, dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine), and glycine. These are referred to as classic neurotransmitters. A neuron generally releases only one type of small classic neurotransmitter.

Neurotransmitters may also be peptide molecules, such as substance P, opioids, and somatostatin. These are referred to as neuropeptides.

Gas molecules, such as nitric oxide (NO), may also act as neurotransmitters.



Abbreviation:
OAEs

Definition:
Otoacoustic emissions (OAE) are sounds that arise from the organ of Corti within the cochlea of the inner ear in response to sound stimulation. They are thought to result from vibrations of cochlear outer hair cells (OHC) in response to stimulation by sound. Otoacoustic emissions are inaudible to the human ear, but can be recorded by placing a small recording device in the external auditory meatus (ear canal).

Otoacoustic emissions have clinical diagnostic value and are measured as part of hearing exams. In the newborn, otoacoustic emissions are recorded in order to detect blockage in the middle ear cavity (e.g., as a result of fluid accumulation) or external ear canal.



Definition:
Ouabain binds to and inhibits the transport activity of the Na+/K+/ATPase (i.e., sodium pump).

Ouabain is plant derived and belongs to the class of drugs referred to as cardiac glycosides. Similar to other cardiac glycosides, ouabain increase heart muscle contractility. However, ouabain is used only experimentally and not in humans (as for example digoxin is for the treatment of congestive heart failure).

There is some evidence that ouabain may be produced endogenously in humans.

Related glossary terms/phrases:
Vanadate

Other resources:
Ouabain (Wikipedia)



Definition:
Surgical removal of one or both ovaries.

Also known as oophorectomy

Related glossary terms/phrases:
Oophorectomy



Definition:
Cells within the thyroid gland. Parafollicular cells are situated outside of the thyroid follicles and are interspersed between the follicles. Parafollicular cells are responsible for producing the hormone calcitonin. Parafollicular cells are also referred to as C cells.



Definition:
Physiology is the study of how living systems function. The scope of physiological studies ranges from the subcellular level (molecules and organelles) all the way to the level of the whole organism and how organisms adapt to vastly different environmental conditions such as hot, cold, dry, humid, or high altitude.

See also:
What is Physiology?



Definition:
Glial cell found within the posterior pituitary gland. It resembles astrocytes and functions to provide support to unmyelinated axons whose terminals release oxytocin and vasopressin.



Definition:
Plasma is the fluid portion of whole blood, which makes up about 40% to 60% of the total volume of whole blood. Plasma has a light yellow color and is generally obtained by separating the fluid portion from the blood formed elements through sedimentation or centrifugation. Plasma contains mostly water and, in addition, minerals, nutrients, proteins, hormones, and gases (oxygen and carbon dioxide). Unlike serum, in which fibrinogen and other clotting factors have been removed by coagulation, fibrinogen and other clotting factors remain present in plasma.

Plasma is one the main fluid compartments of the human body, making up nearly 10% of the total volume of body fluids. Plasma makes up the intravascular fluid compartment; itself a subcompartment of the extracellular fluid compartment.



Definition:
Primary hypothyroidism is characterized by abnormally low levels of thyroid hormone (T3 and T4) production, where the defect is at the level of the thyroid gland itself.

In primary hypothyroidism, the circulating levels of the thyroid hormones are low, however, the levels of the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) are high due a lack of thyroid hormone negative feedback on the anterior pituitary.

Common causes of primary hypothyroidism include iodine deficiency (which leads to goiter), and Hashimoto's disease, in which autoimmune antibodies destroy the ability of the thyroid gland to produce the thyroid hormones.

Related glossary terms/phrases:
Hypothyroidism
Secondary hypothyroidism
Tertiary hypothyroidism



Definition:
Peptide hormone produced by the anterior pituitary gland. Prolactin is best known for its action in stimulating the mammary glands to produce milk (lactation).

Prolactin is known to be involved in many other physiological processes including enlargement of the mammary glands in preparation for milk production, sexual gratification, metabolism, regulation of the immune system, and others.

Other resources:
Prolactin (Wikipedia)



Definition:
A period of rapid physical growth and change, brought about by hormonal changes, that culminates in sexual maturity. In most human girls and boys, it starts between the ages of 10 and 14 and it is complete by the age of 16 in most girls, and by the age of 17 in most boys.

Related glossary terms/phrases:
Adrenarche
Menarche
Pubarche
Thelarche



Definition:
The voltage difference across a cell plasma membrane in the resting or quiescent state. It is also simply referred to as the resting potential (Vrest). The value of the resting membrane potential varies from cell to cell. Depending on the cell type, it can range from −90 mV to −20 mV.

For example, Vrest is −90 mV in skeletal and cardiac muscle cells as well as in astrocytes. In a typical neuron, Vrest is approximately −70 mV. In many non-excitable cells, Vrest ranges from −60 to −50 mV. In photoreceptors, Vrest is about −20 mV.

See also:
Resting membrane potential



Definition:
Secondary active transport is a type of active transport across a biological membrane in which a transport protein couples the movement of an ion (typically Na+ or H+) down its electrochemical gradient to the movement of another ion or molecule against a concentration or electrochemical gradient. The ion moving down its electrochemical gradient is referred to as the driving ion. The ion/molecule being transported against a chemical or electrochemical gradient is referred to as the driven ion/molecule.

This transport process is referred to as active transport because the driven ion/molecule is transported against a concentration or electrochemical gradient. It is referred to as secondary active transport because no ATP hydrolysis is involved in this process (as opposed to primary active transport). The energy required to drive transport resides in the transmembrane electrochemical gradient of the driving ion.

Secondary active transport is also referred to as ion-coupled transport. Those utilizing Na+ as the driving ion are called Na+-coupled transporters. Those utilizing H+ as the driving ion are called H+-coupled transporters.

Two types of secondary active transport exist: cotransport (also known as symport) and exchange (also known as antiport). Na+/glucose cotransporter and H+/dipeptide cotransporter are examples of cotransporters. Na+/Ca2+ exchanger and Na+/H+ exchanger are examples of exchangers.

Related glossary terms/phrases:
Cotransport
Symport
Exchange
Antiport

See also:
Lecture notes on Secondary Active Transport



Definition:
Secondary hypothyroidism is characterized by abnormally low levels of thyroid hormone (T3 and T4) production, where the defect is at the level of the anterior pituitary gland.

In secondary hypothyroidism, the anterior pituitary gland is unable to produce sufficient levels of the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) which, in turn, leads to insufficient stimulation of the thyroid gland to produce the thyroid hormones (T3 and T4).

Thus, in secondary hypothyroidism, the circulating levels of both TSH and the thyroid hormones (T3, and T4) are abnormally low

Related glossary terms/phrases:
Hypothyroidism
Primary hypothyroidism
Tertiary hypothyroidism



Definition:
Secretion refers to cellular release of substances (ions and small and large molecules) to the external environment of the cell. Secretion may be accomplished by exocytosis (fusion of transport vesicles with the plasma membrane and release of vesicle contents to the external environment), by transport of molecules across the plasma membrane (via the activity of transport proteins such as pumps, transporters, and channels), or by simple diffusion of fat-soluble molecules through the plasma membrane out of the cell.

For example, endocrine cells secrete hormone molecules that then enter the bloodstream. Neurons release (i.e., secrete) neurotransmitter molecules into the synaptic cleft. Some neurons secrete neurohormones; which similar to hormones, travel in the bloodstream to reach distant target cells. Epithelial cells secrete molecules in luminal spaces, such as digestive enzymes secreted into the digestive tract by various cell types.

See also:
Excretion



Definition:
Endocrine cell of the anterior pituitary gland responsible for synthesizing and releasing growth hormone (GH).



Definition:
Refers to the rapid depolarization of the membrane early in the action potential. In neuronal, skeletal muscle, and cardiac muscle action potentials, the Hodgkin cycle is responsible for the spike phase of the action potential.

See figure.

See also:
Important Features of the Neuronal Action Potential



Definition:
A rectangular signal waveform used in physiological studies to perturb (i.e., challenge) the system under study. The response of the system to the pulse is then studied carefully to learn about how the system responds to challenges.

Examples include pulses of voltage or current in electrophysiological experiments. Other examples include pulses of light, pressure, temperature, ligand, etc.

A square-wave pulse is defined by the amplitude and duration of the pulse, as well as by the frequency at which the pulse is applied to the system under study.

See also:
Neuronal Action Potential - Introduction

Other resources:
Square wave (Wikipedia)



Definition:
Synaptic pathology. Any pathophysiological condition that leads to abnormal function of synapses within the nervous system. The pathology may be due to pre-synaptic and/or post-synaptic mechanisms, or may involve glial cells surrounding synapses.



Definition:
Tertiary hypothyroidism is characterized by abnormally low levels of thyroid hormone (T3 and T4) production, where the defect is at the level of the hypothalamus.

In tertiary hypothyroidism, the hypothalamus is unable to produce sufficient levels of thyrotropin release hormone (TRH). Low TRH levels lead to low production of the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) by the anterior pituitary gland which, in turn, leads to insufficient stimulation of the thyroid gland to produce the thyroid hormones (T3 and T4).

Thus, in tertiary hypothyroidism, the circulating levels of TRH, TSH, T3, and T4 are all abnormally low.

Related glossary terms/phrases:
Hypothyroidism
Primary hypothyroidism
Secondary hypothyroidism



Abbreviation:
Tg

Definition:
The major glycoprotein found within the colloid of thyroid follicles. The thyroid hormones (T3 and T4) are synthesized on the backbone of thyroglobulin.



Definition:
Thyroid follicular cells are epithelial cells that form the lining of thyroid follicles. Each thyroid follicle is surrounded by a single layer of follicular cells. Follicular cells play the key role in thyroid hormone synthesis and release.

Thyroid follicular cells are also referred to as thyrocytes.



Definition:
Endocrine cell of the anterior pituitary gland responsible for synthesizing and releasing thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH).



Definition:
An inhibitor of the Na+/K+/ATPase (i.e., sodium pump). The form commonly used for this purpose is sodium orthovanadate.

Related glossary terms/phrases:
Ouabain



Definition:
The part of the embryonic gonad that develops into the male reproductive ducts (epididymis, vas deferens, and seminal vesicles). In the female, this structure disappears because of the absence of anti-Müllerian hormone secreted by the Sertoli cells.



Definition:
The Z disk (or Z line) defines the boundaries of a muscle sarcomere. Two adjacent Z disks along the myofibril mark the boundaries of a single sarcomere. The Z disks are the attachment sites for the thin filaments. Therefore, from each Z disk, thin filaments extend to two neighboring sarcomeres. When a muscle fiber contracts, the Z disks of a sarcomere move closer together (i.e., the sarcomere also shortens).

Related glossary terms/phrases:
A band
H zone
I band
M line









Posted: Sunday, March 31, 2013
Last updated: Friday, August 28, 2015