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 Definition The study of the mechanical, physical, and biochemical functions of tissues and how they interact. [d] [e]
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Formating decisions

Citation style as per Help:Citation style David Tribe 02:19, 5 February 2007 (CST) Other style standards?

A start

This article did not exist after the initial unforking from Wikipedia. I am beginning to write it. Please join me!Nancy Sculerati MD 17:47, 26 January 2007 (CST)

Ok, I'll join in a lot more once I see a structure or outline. -Tom Kelly (Talk) 17:48, 26 January 2007 (CST)

Pathophysiology, physiopathology

How do you do a redirect so pathophysiology and physiopathology don't have 2 articles started - they should just be the same thing, but I want to link them both. -Tom Kelly (Talk) 18:04, 26 January 2007 (CST)

I don't know. I have never heard the term physiopathology. I am taking the "word bank" out of the article and placing it below - it's a great idea -but it should be in discussion.

Yeah, I just figured that discussions never get erased and we could just edit things out as we went along. Also by having many == == you can edit one part without interrupting the other persons edits.
check stedmans for the syn. "pathologic physiology. that part of the science of disease concerned with disordered function, as distinguished from anatomic lesions. SYN: physiopathology." -Stedmans electronic medical dictionary.

It's just my ignorance! :-) but it could also be a term that is not used much...Nancy Sculerati MD 18:22, 26 January 2007 (CST)

"Also by having many == == you can edit one part without interrupting the other persons edits." i see you are becoming an experienced wiki editor :) I too have not heard of physiopathology although I see no reason why it could not be a redirect. Chris Day (Talk) 13:11, 30 January 2007 (CST)

word (and idea) bank for this article

general physiology hominal physiology comparative physiology immune system physiology or physiology of the immune system the physiological function of the immune system is to prevent and fight (kill, combat, eliminate) infection...

biochemistry / biochemical components (make-up)

Physiological chemistry, is the nice old word for the area from which much biochemistry evolved Endocrinology Hormone systems, Immunology, Immune system, Circulatory system,Nervous system David Tribe 14:47, 30 January 2007 (CST)

make link to Physiology as a degree/major/field of study

major systems studied. renal physiology,

These days a common approach is to deal with physiology by levels:

  • molecular physiology
  • cellular physiology
  • systems physiology

the term integrative physiology is sometimes used (as in the Centre to which I belong) to describe approaches that try to link across levels. Historically, physiology embraced many subjects like biochemistry, pharmacology and immunology that are now regarded as quite separate disciplines. For some, what still distinguishes physiology is the concept of physiological relevance - i.e. the need to show how an observed mechanism or phenomenon is involved in the normal function of the organism involved. Thus a pharmacological response merely demonstrates the presence of functional receptors, a physiological response entails showing the involvement of an endogenous ligand in an effect that has demonstrably adaptive consequences.

History topics?

A major late offshoot of physiology is biophysics. Major names in the history of physiology in the first half of the 20th century might include Hodgkin and Huxley (physiology of the nervous impulse), Starling (endocrine scretions), Ringer (frog heart), Katz (neuromuscular junction), Adrian (nerve impulses), Sharpey-Shafer (adrenals and other endocrine systems), Sherrington (spinal reflexes), Dale (transmitter release), Eccles (synapses), Geoffrey Harris (neuroendocrine systems) (a very UK-centric list of our glory days), but also Nernst, Cajal, Banting and Best, Howard Florey....Gareth Leng 18:35, 26 January 2007 (CST)

I do think that going back to ( is it Claude Bernal) to where basic physiological concepts such as homeostasis were discovered will help us David Tribe 15:28, 30 January 2007 (CST)

Other related topics Invertebrate physiology, Plant physiology

Comparative physiology , Invertebrate physiology, Plant physiology and perhaps Microbial physiology are all topics likely to be expanded in other articles. Physiology itself I think, is often ussumed to mean mammalian physiology but the plant suggestions are great and comparative physiological illustrations would be good. Eg vacoules in protists versus kidneys. Time to find a copy of Ralph Buchbaum's (sp. ?) Animals without backbones. ! David Tribe 15:05, 30 January 2007 (CST). Plant physiology is one that should perhaps be mentioned in passing as an application of the original medical concepts to other organisms(? am I right? Hmmm, was it developed independently ?). David Tribe 14:42, 30 January 2007 (CST)

Sounds like original research to me :), but seriously, I'm not sure about the history of plant physiology. I'll see if i can root something out. Chris Day (Talk) 15:09, 30 January 2007 (CST)

Even if they are different fields, physiology is no more animal physiology than it is plant physiology. Clearly, we will have to have an article on Physiology (animal) and one Physiology (plant)...eventually. Let's make this one general- accurate in details, meaning not meaninglessly vague, and try to convey ideas very clearly - meaning make it conceptual. So- I think we can work on all the stuff we've mentioned, and as we go, see what works and if we have extra, or blind alleys, we split it off into other articles. Better to do that than waste our words and energy worrying about what not to do - when so much needs to be done.Nancy Sculerati MD 15:18, 30 January 2007 (CST)


Aim: An article written to be understood by the intelligent lay reader. An article that places physiology in context among related biological disciplies, i;e; which distinguishes the discipline from others with which it is easily confused. An article that displays a purposefully chosen selection of examples to illustrate the sorts of things that comprise physiology; an article that explains the historical origins and development of physiology as well as illustrating contemporary approaches. An article that gives access to further resources for school students, undergraduates and teachers especially; An article that should have relatively few references itself, as the content should largely stand on our authority as editors, should not contain anything in any serious dispute, and is simply a gateway tomore specialised articles;

  • Lead, a Brief summary of about 300 words giving a clear, natural language explanation of what physiology is;
  • Introduction, overview, molecules to systems and integrative physiology

Separate sections for each, focused around a carefully chosen illustrative example?

  • Molecular physiology; the context here is the post genomc drive to understand the physiological functions of the genes in the genome; an important elementin that is understanding the regulation of gene expression, and measuring changes in gene expression in different phydiological states. I think we'd be looking for examples of the physiological regulation of gene expression to illustrate this - perhaps from microarray technology, (though I'm not a fan, but so what)I,d suggest the focus here should be on the new technologies, proteomics etc
  • Cellular physiology; I guess one of the most influential classic examples here is the work of Hogkin and Huxley to explain the propogation of the nervous impulse, published in The Journal of Physiology in the 50s and which won them the Nobel Prize. Muscle contaction is another great example,or transduction mechanisms in sensory cells
  • Systems physiology; perhaps cardiovascular physiology? Or a reflex, the milk ejection reflex is my personal fovourite reflex of all time, maybe talk about two, e.g. spinal reflexes (Sherrington) and an endocrine reflex?
  • Integrative physiology; here perhaps we need a modern example of how transgenics is used to elucidate the physiological function of a gene; perhaps the story of leptin is perhaps a good example. Recently perhaps nitric oxide?
  • History; well its been an everbranching tree, there,s a rich source here and probably best to mention just a very few.
  • Links to journals, societies, Wellcome Trust sources, particularly where they offer electronically available material for public understanding.

Anyway, these are my suggestions not my prescription. Gareth Leng 11:10, 27 January 2007 (CST)

Well, I'm prescribing it - as our Tentative Plan. Let's start! :-) Nancy Sculerati MD 11:15, 27 January 2007 (CST)


Lets take a specific example that we can follow from molecular to systems- like the movement of the body with skeletal muscle. If you can think of a better one, I'm game. Nancy Sculerati MD 13:02, 30 January 2007 (CST)

How about the movement of water to the top of a tree? :) But i do think the muscle idea is a good one. Works at all scales. Chris Day (Talk) 13:08, 30 January 2007 (CST)

I love the movement of water to the top of a tree! We could do both- and put the history stuff (except for a brief section) in a History of Physiology article. The only animal example that I can come up with to balance the water/tree would be absorption of water in the digestion tract/ excretion in kidneys- but that's pretty hard to convey simply. What do you think? Nancy Nancy Sculerati MD 13:26, 30 January 2007 (CST)

[EC] I agree, in my experience the kidney is especially hard for students to comprehend. I would consider the muscle more intuitive. Even the tree idea might be better in its own article, I just threw that in for fun being a devils advocate. One big problem with the tree example being compared to the kidney is that, for historic reasons, animal physiologists use osmotic pressure (π) whereas plant physiologists use osmotic potential (ψs). They relate to each other as -π = ψs. Another problem is that plant physiologists use MPa where as animal physiologists use mmHg, although, all this could be avoided by using very general terms.
If you still want to consider water balance as an option, then another good reason for going this route, besides integrating plants and animals, is that we can consider freshwater vs sea water adaptations from the perspective of physiological diversity. Chris Day (Talk) 13:53, 30 January 2007 (CST)
Please make system articles - that would be awesome. Kidney, Liver, Pancreas, etc, etc, etc. I'll send medical students to them if you do!! -Tom Kelly (Talk) 13:57, 3 February 2007 (CST)

Actually, maybe we can do overall absorption of (water + nutrients)/excretion :tree and human. We could even figure out a way to get leptin in there, then. We may fail- of course-but let's give it a shot. It will link right in with metabolism, too. Nancy Sculerati MD 13:41, 30 January 2007 (CST)

I'll think on this a bit more, don't have time to reply right now. Chris Day (Talk) 13:55, 30 January 2007 (CST)

Mention how water loss, carbon dioxide uptake, stomata and temperature regulation, temperature stress in leaves are related. Stomata make an interesting connection between cells and organism physiology. Water is used to cool leaves on hot days. water and CO2 share the same entry point David Tribe 15:28, 30 January 2007 (CST)

Other points of interest with respect to stomata and the cellular mechanisms are the voltage gated potassium channels (inward and outward rectifying) that cause the solutes to move in and out (chlorides too, but that is another story) This as a response to environmental (light, CO2) and hormonal (ABA) signals that are good representations of feed back control to minimise water loss. Good chance to tie in aquaporins too. Maybe the most interesting is to contrast how the bulk flow of liquid occurs. In animals a pump and positive pressure. In plants, no pump and large negative pressures that effectively suck the water up (forces coming from surface tension at the cell wall during evaporation from the leaf). Chris Day (Talk) 01:16, 31 January 2007 (CST)


Some great animations would do a lot for us here. Nancy Sculerati MD 15:20, 30 January 2007 (CST)