Anatomy & Physiology 05 Integumentary System


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Girl kayaking

This picture shows a girl kayaking in the ocean.
Without joints, body movements would be impossible. (credit: Graham Richardson/

Chapter objectives

After this chapter, you will be able to:

  • Discuss both functional and structural classifications for body joints
  • Describe the characteristic features for fibrous, cartilaginous, and synovial joints and give examples of each
  • Define and identify the different body movements
  • Discuss the structure of specific body joints and the movements allowed by each
  • Explain the development of body joints

The adult human body has 206 bones, and with the exception of the hyoid bone in the neck, each bone is connected to at least one other bone. Joints are the location where bones come together. Many joints allow for movement between the bones. At these joints, the articulating surfaces of the adjacent bones can move smoothly against each other. However, the bones of other joints may be joined to each other by connective tissue or cartilage. These joints are designed for stability and provide for little or no movement. Importantly, joint stability and movement are related to each other. This means that stable joints allow for little or no mobility between the adjacent bones. Conversely, joints that provide the most movement between bones are the least stable. Understanding the relationship between joint structure and function will help to explain why particular types of joints are found in certain areas of the body.

The articulating surfaces of bones at stable types of joints, with little or no mobility, are strongly united to each other. For example, most of the joints of the skull are held together by fibrous connective tissue and do not allow for movement between the adjacent bones. This lack of mobility is important, because the skull bones serve to protect the brain. Similarly, other joints united by fibrous connective tissue allow for very little movement, which provides stability and weight-bearing support for the body. For example, the tibia and fibula of the leg are tightly united to give stability to the body when standing. At other joints, the bones are held together by cartilage, which permits limited movements between the bones. Thus, the joints of the vertebral column only allow for small movements between adjacent vertebrae, but when added together, these movements provide the flexibility that allows your body to twist, or bend to the front, back, or side. In contrast, at joints that allow for wide ranges of motion, the articulating surfaces of the bones are not directly united to each other. Instead, these surfaces are enclosed within a space filled with lubricating fluid, which allows the bones to move smoothly against each other. These joints provide greater mobility, but since the bones are free to move in relation to each other, the joint is less stable. Most of the joints between the bones of the appendicular skeleton are this freely moveable type of joint. These joints allow the muscles of the body to pull on a bone and thereby produce movement of that body region. Your ability to kick a soccer ball, pick up a fork, and dance the tango depend on mobility at these types of joints.

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Anatomy & Physiology 05 Integumentary System
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12 Pages
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Educational Materials

Sample Questions from the Anatomy & Physiology 05 Integumentary System Flashcards

Question: The skin consists of two layers and a closely associated layer. View this animation ( to learn more about layers of the skin. What are the basic functions of each of these layers?


The epidermis provides protection, the dermis provides support and flexibility, and the hypodermis (fat layer) provides insulation and padding.

Question: What determines the color of skin, and what is the process that darkens skin when it is exposed to UV light?


The pigment melanin, produced by melanocytes, is primarily responsible for skin color. Melanin comes in different shades of brown and black. Individuals with darker skin have darker, more abundant melanin, whereas fair-skinned individuals have a lighter shade of skin and less melanin. Exposure to UV irradiation stimulates the melanocytes to produce and secrete more melanin.

Question: Why do teenagers often experience acne?


Acne results from a blockage of sebaceous glands by sebum. The blockage causes blackheads to form, which are susceptible to infection. The infected tissue then becomes red and inflamed. Teenagers experience this at high rates because the sebaceous glands become active during puberty. Hormones that are especially active during puberty stimulate the release of sebum, leading in many cases to blockages.

Question: Figure 5.4 If you zoom on the cells at the outermost layer of this section of skin, what do you notice about the cells?


Figure 5.4 These cells do not have nuclei, so you can deduce that they are dead. They appear to be sloughing off.

Question: Explain the differences between eccrine and apocrine sweat glands.


Eccrine sweat glands are all over the body, especially the forehead and palms of the hand. They release a watery sweat, mixed with some metabolic waste and antibodies. Apocrine glands are associated with hair follicles. They are larger than eccrine sweat glands and lie deeper in the dermis, sometimes even reaching the hypodermis. They release a thicker sweat that is often decomposed by bacteria on the skin, resulting in an unpleasant odor.

Question: Explain your skin's response to a drop in body core temperature.


When the core body temperature drops, the body switches to heat-conservation mode. This can include an inhibition to excessive sweating and a decrease of blood flow to the papillary layers of the skin. This reduction of blood flow helps conserve body heat.

Question: Why do people sweat excessively when exercising outside on a hot day?


Sweating cools the body when it becomes warm. When the body temperature rises, such as when exercising on a hot day, the dermal blood vessels dilate, and the sweat glands begin to secrete more sweat. The evaporation of the sweat from the surface of the skin cools the body by dissipating heat.

Question: This ABC video follows the story of a pair of fraternal African-American twins, one of whom is albino. Watch this video ( to learn about the challenges these children and their family face. Which ethnicities do you think are exempt from the possibility of albinism?


There are none.

Question: Describe the structure and composition of nails.


Nails are composed of densely packed dead keratinocytes. They protect the fingers and toes from mechanical stress. The nail body is formed on the nail bed, which is at the nail root. Nail folds, folds of skin that overlap the nail on its side, secure the nail to the body. The crescent-shaped region at the base of the nail is the lunula.

Question: Figure 5.6 If you zoom on the cells of the stratum spinosum, what is distinctive about them?


Figure 5.6 These cells have desmosomes, which give the cells their spiny appearance.

Question: Cells of the epidermis derive from stem cells of the stratum basale. Describe how the cells change as they become integrated into the different layers of the epidermis.


As the cells move into the stratum spinosum, they begin the synthesis of keratin and extend cell processes, desmosomes, which link the cells. As the stratum basale continues to produce new cells, the keratinocytes of the stratum spinosum are pushed into the stratum granulosum. The cells become flatter, their cell membranes thicken, and they generate large amounts of the proteins keratin and keratohyalin. The nuclei and other cell organelles disintegrate as the cells die, leaving behind the keratin, keratohyalin, and cell membranes that form the stratum lucidum and the stratum corneum. The keratinocytes in these layers are mostly dead and flattened. Cells in the stratum corneum are periodically shed.

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Disclaimer:  This course does NOT provide the education or experience needed for the diagnosing or treating any medical condition,

all site contents are provided as general information only and should not be taken as a medical advice.

Source:  OpenStax College. Anatomy & Physiology, OpenStax-CNX Web site., Jun 11, 2014
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