Question: Feedback Mechanisms

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Instructions: Respond to this discussion below. You can critique, agree or disagree but explain why.
It is a discussion response format to this writing below from a classmate. Any response is valid as
long as it is constructive and relating to this subject matter below.

Homeostasis can be defined as the maintenance of relative constancy of the internal environment
which is maintained mostly by the mechanisms of the negative feedback. The nervous and
endocrine systems are responsible for maintaining our internal homeostasis, they work together to
maintain internal ranges around a normal set point.
Negative feedback loops work when a change in a specific factor of the internal environment is
detected by a sensor that relays this information to an integrating center which directs an effector
to produce a change in the opposite direction, to reverse the initial deviation from set point.
Negative feedback loops are continuously occurring processes that are always working to maintain
our internal homeostasis. In positive feedback, effectors work to amplify those changes that were
reversed in the negative feedback loop. By increasing action of effectors, changes that stimulated
the effectors are amplified as opposed to reset around a set point.
While most of our body’s physiological processes are maintained by negative feedback, positive
feedback is helpful when a starting stimulus needs to be amplified in order for a process to reach
An important example of a positive feedback mechanism occurs when a woman is in labor. The
process is initiated by increased estrogen. The hormone estrogen is released by the ovaries in order
to bring about contractions. When estrogen is released from the ovaries, it induces oxytocin
receptors on the uterus.

Oxytocin works by positive feedback, it stimulates the placenta to make
prostaglandins which stimulate more contractions of the uterus.
Before ovulation, small amounts of estrogen are secreted by the ovaries which stimulates the
release of the hormone GnRH which then stimulates the release of another hormone LH, which
causes the release of even more estrogen in the positive feedback cycle. Positive feedback is
important for labor because during labor, the increased level of estrogen inhibits the release of
progesterone which would otherwise prevent uterine contractions needed for labor. Contractions
are continued by action of the hormone oxytocin which acts in response to a stimulus through
positive feedback mechanism, increasing the effector action.


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