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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Describe the structure of the human body in terms of six levels of organization
  • List the eleven organ systems of the human body and identify at least one organ and one major function of each

Before you begin to study the different structures and functions of the human body, it is helpful to consider its basic architecture; that is, how its smallest parts are assembled into larger structures. It is convenient to consider the structures of the body in terms of fundamental levels of organization that increase in complexity: subatomic particles, atoms, molecules, organelles, cells, tissues, organs, organ systems, organisms and biosphere ( [link] ).

Levels of structural organization of the human body

This illustration shows biological organization as a pyramid. The chemical level is at the apex of the pyramid where atoms bond to form molecules with three dimensional structures. An example is shown with two white hydrogen atoms bonding to a red oxygen atom to create water. The next level down on the pyramid is the cellular level, as illustrated with a long, tapered, smooth muscle cell. At this level, a variety of molecules combine to form the interior fluid and organelles of a body cell. The next level down is the tissue level. A community of similar cells forms body tissue. The example given here is a section of smooth muscle tissue, which contains many smooth muscle cells closely bound side by side. The next level down is the organ level, as illustrated with the bladder and urethra. The bladder contains smooth muscle while the urethra contains skeletal muscle. These are both examples of muscle tissues. The next level down is the organ system level, as illustrated by the entire urinary system containing the kidney, ureters, bladder and urethra. At this level, two or more organs work closely together to perform the functions of a body system. At the base of the pyramid is the organismal level illustrated with a woman drinking water. At this level, many organ systems work harmoniously together to perform the functions of an independent organism.
The organization of the body often is discussed in terms of six distinct levels of increasing complexity, from the smallest chemical building blocks to a unique human organism.

The levels of organization

To study the chemical level of organization, scientists consider the simplest building blocks of matter: subatomic particles, atoms and molecules. All matter in the universe is composed of one or more unique pure substances called elements, familiar examples of which are hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, nitrogen, calcium, and iron. The smallest unit of any of these pure substances (elements) is an atom. Atoms are made up of subatomic particles such as the proton, electron and neutron. Two or more atoms combine to form a molecule, such as the water molecules, proteins, and sugars found in living things. Molecules are the chemical building blocks of all body structures.

A cell    is the smallest independently functioning unit of a living organism. Even bacteria, which are extremely small, independently-living organisms, have a cellular structure. Each bacterium is a single cell. All living structures of human anatomy contain cells, and almost all functions of human physiology are performed in cells or are initiated by cells.

A human cell typically consists of flexible membranes that enclose cytoplasm, a water-based cellular fluid together with a variety of tiny functioning units called organelles . In humans, as in all organisms, cells perform all functions of life. A tissue    is a group of many similar cells (though sometimes composed of a few related types) that work together to perform a specific function. An organ    is an anatomically distinct structure of the body composed of two or more tissue types. Each organ performs one or more specific physiological functions. An organ system    is a group of organs that work together to perform major functions or meet physiological needs of the body.

This book covers eleven distinct organ systems in the human body ( [link] and [link] ). Assigning organs to organ systems can be imprecise since organs that “belong” to one system can also have functions integral to another system. In fact, most organs contribute to more than one system.

Organ systems of the human body

This illustration shows eight silhouettes of a human female, each showing the components of a different organ system. The integumentary system encloses internal body structures and is the site of many sensory receptors. The integumentary system includes the hair, skin, and nails. The skeletal system supports the body and, along with the muscular system, enables movement. The skeletal system includes cartilage, such as that at the tip of the nose, as well as the bones and joints. The muscular system enables movement, along with the skeletal system, but also helps to maintain body temperature. The muscular system includes skeletal muscles, as well as tendons that connect skeletal muscles to bones. The nervous system detects and processes sensory information and activates bodily responses. The nervous system includes the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves, such as those located in the limbs. The endocrine system secretes hormones and regulates bodily processes. The endocrine system includes the pituitary gland in the brain, the thyroid gland in the throat, the pancreas in the abdomen, the adrenal glands on top of the kidneys, and the testes in the scrotum of males as well as the ovaries in the pelvic region of females. The cardiovascular system delivers oxygen and nutrients to the tissues as well as equalizes temperature in the body. The cardiovascular system includes the heart and blood vessels.
Organs that work together are grouped into organ systems.

Organ systems of the human body (continued)

The lymphatic system returns fluid to the blood and defends against pathogens. The lymphatic system includes the thymus in the chest, the spleen in the abdomen, the lymphatic vessels that spread throughout the body, and the lymph nodes distributed along the lymphatic vessels. The respiratory system removes carbon dioxide from the body and delivers oxygen to the blood. The respiratory system includes the nasal passages, the trachea, and the lungs. The digestive system processes food for use by the body and removes wastes from undigested food. The digestive system includes the stomach, the liver, the gall bladder (connected to the liver), the large intestine, and the small intestine. The urinary system controls water balance in the body and removes and excretes waste from the blood. The urinary system includes the kidneys and the urinary bladder. The reproductive system of males and females produce sex hormones and gametes. The male reproductive system is specialized to deliver gametes to the female while the female reproductive system is specialized to support the embryo and fetus until birth and produce milk for the infant after birth. The male reproductive system includes the two testes within the scrotum as well as the epididymis which wraps around each testis. The female reproductive system includes the mammary glands within the breasts and the ovaries and uterus within the pelvic cavity.
Organs that work together are grouped into organ systems.

The organism level is the highest level of organization. An organism    is a living being that has a cellular structure and that can independently perform all physiologic functions necessary for life. In multicellular organisms, including humans, all cells, tissues, organs, and organ systems of the body work together to maintain the life and health of the organism.

Chapter review

Life processes of the human body are maintained at several levels of structural organization. These include the chemical, cellular, tissue, organ, organ system, and the organism level. Higher levels of organization are built from lower levels. Therefore, molecules combine to form cells, cells combine to form tissues, tissues combine to form organs, organs combine to form organ systems, and organ systems combine to form organisms.

Questions & Answers

life circle of RBC and the life circle of WBC.
Yemi Reply
RBC 120days
Zeph
RBC 120days and WBC 10-12days
sai
what is anatomy?
Md Reply
positive feedback mechanism
Sirimala Reply
what is immunology
Riya Reply
immunology is a branch of medicine that study's the body immune system
SAMUEL
Immunology This is the study of specific and non-specific resistance of the body against infection i.e. the study of the immune response of a host to a foreign substance, which includes study of various reactions which are induced in the body by introduction of a substance.
Kaluki
what is role of elimination need like fluid and also stools
Munmun Reply
bone
Vijay
what is joint pain
Vijay
is the physical suffering caused by illness or injury of the joint
malulu
pls can someone describe shock,types ,pathophysiology and treatment
Isaac
this is what I'm thinking "After taking out everything the body needs, the bowel then expels the leftover waste."
isaiah
I think elimination also helps in the continuation of the digestive system because if the unwanted fluids and stools does not come out of the system it can create a problem in the digestive. system resulting in diseases.
Martha
shock is a condition whereby the circulating system is unable to get enough blood and oxygen to vital organs like the brain,heart,eye,kidney and others.
Martha
causing depression of those organs.
Martha
there are 2 classification of shock. primary shock: this occurs immediately after injury due emotional stimulus or pain.example hearing a bad news,sudden obstruction of airway.sudden heart attack. secondary shock :it occurs when primary shock is delayed
Martha
types of shock syncope (faint) oligaemic or hyppvovaemic shock. Anaphylactic shock. neurogenic/ physical shock septic sock catdiogenic shock.
Martha
What is the difference between dna duplication and chromosomes duplication?
to help you identify the human body parts to help you live a healthy life the study of Anatomy helps one to work in any health sector
sophia Reply
okay.
what is the function of the mitochondrial in the cell
Vida Reply
define and explain the synovial membrane
Mahmudu Reply
What is cloning?
Jesam Reply
relationship between anatomy and physiology
Ranjeeta Reply
anatomy is the structure and physiology is the function
Isaac
the branches of physiology
Asiedu Reply
is single DNA arranged into 46 chromosomes
Vaishnavi Reply
don't know about it
Sachin
no it is duble strand or pair of chromosomes
Marta
how does muscle contraction work?
Matthew
no,it is arranged as 23 pairs chromosomes
Ajiola
what are the parts of a cell?
Noel Reply
cell body, nucleus, cytoplasm, endoplasmic reticulum (rough and smooth), Golgi apparatus, cell membrane and organelles.
Heather
cell membrane, cell wall,cytoplasm, nucleus, etc
Felix
explain how skeletal muscles work
Felix
they work voluntarily
Trina
46 chromosomes present in which part of human body
Anar
when twins born how both of them carry 46 chromosomes
Anar
In the nuclear membrane
wisdom
but thiere r many cells n definetely cells have many nuclear membrane
Anar
cytoplasm plasma membrane nucleus
Ajiola
nucleus cytoplasm epr spr mitochondria
sureshbabu
cell have many parts and it act as different function s
sureshbabu
lysosome, golge body, cytoplasm, smooth endoplasmic reticulum
Vida
what is sex with male and female!
Muhammad Reply
intercourse
Jessie
sexual intercourse
Jessie
for formation of new generation
Sunil
sex is a female and male body courtship, rubbing of penis and vagina which results in release of fluids (sperm) from male in to the vagina of the female know as ejaculation
CHUOL
sex is a body courtship, penis and vagina rubbing which results in release of fluids sperm)
CHUOL
how sure a u?
Pius
it's like copulation
Pius

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Source:  OpenStax, Anatomy & Physiology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 04, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11496/1.8
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