The following informal questions will guide your studying

efforts towards the key conceptional ideas we have covered and

will strenghen your knowledge for the upcoming exam.


For all exams:

NOTE:  You should know specific vocabulary words and conventions we

have defined and not be afraid to use them!















First Exam Study Questions:

Omit the red questions for examination purposes

1.  What is the major organizational plan of the body?  And what

are the four primary tissues?


2.  Delineate between the 3 types of muscle (skeletal, cardiac, and smooth)?


3.  What is the substructure of the neuron (functional unit of the nervous system)?


4.  Anatomical classifications of epithelial tissue and 2 primary functions?


5.  Four types of connective tissue? 


6.  Distinguish between ICF, ECF, plasma, and interstitial fluid?


7.  Organelle structure and function?


8.  How is the structure of the phospholipid bilayer important to physiological



9.  Identity and functions of specialized proteins in the latticework?


10.  Review of GENERAL principles of glycolysis, TCA, electron transport chain?


11.  Cellular activities that require energy expenditure?   


12.  How does the Chemiosmotic Hypothesis demonstrate several classic

physiological principles?


13.  How are organic molecules classified?


14.  What is the structure of proteins?


15.  What is the major function of nucleic acids?


16.  Review the genetic code, transcription, and translation?


17.  Sources of hazardous mutagens?


18.  How are molecules transported across and through the membrane?


19.  Which types of membrane transport requires energy?  requires proteins? 

requires a gradient?  Name physiological mechanisms where transport is operational?


20.  How does Einstein's Random Walk Theory relate to synaptic transmission?


21.  How do concentration gradients, size of NT, charge, and temperature

affect the rate of electronic signaling?


22.  Why are rbcs natural osmometers?


23.  What are distinct characteristics of only protein-mediated transport?


24.  What does primary active transport have to do with phosphorylation?


25.  What are the generic regions of specialization for a "typical" nerve cell

and where are the anatomically distinct neuron types located in the body?


26.  What physiological processes are in common for all neuron types?


27.  Do all cells that have a negative resting potential have the

capacity to fire an action potential?  Why or why not?


28.  In what form is information encoded in the nervous system?  How does

changing the action potential shape change the information?  If you were to block

certain ionic conductances underlying the action potential with drugs, how

would various scenarios alter the encoded information? 


29.  What is absolute and relative refraction; what type of ion channel blockers

(drug targets) would affect rates of action potential firing?


30.  Why do we clinically want to measure ion channel physiology?


31.  What are some common antidepressant drugs, diet pills, and medicines for

reducing schizophrenic hallucinations?  Where do these medicines target synaptic

transmission?  Which drug is presently being recalled due to its side effects

on heart valve damage?


32.  What are the classic principles of the action potential?


33.  How are local currents distinct from action potentials?  If the former are

decrementing, what is their physiological function?


34.  Does the ALL-or-NONE principle contradict the theory of recruitment? 


35.  Do all nerve cells have the same threshold and space constant?  Why or why not?


36.  What is a myelinated axon?  How does saltatory conduction velocity assist the

nervous system in terms of energy, space, and speed?


37.  What is the physiological basis for Multiple Sclerosis?  What other environmental

factors could induce similar patient symptoms?


38.  Do Schwann cells or Oligodendrocytes assist in regeneration?  Discuss?


39.  Compare and contrast electrical synapses with the traditional chemical synapse.


40.  Why do scientists know so much about the NMJ and the ACh-R over that of all other



41.  How do microtubules assist in synaptic transmission?


42.  If you had a drug that blocked

-ligand-gated ion channels

-presynaptic uptake



-anterograde transport


How would taking this "prescription" affect the excitability of your muscle?


43.  What are the properties of neuroglia?


44.  What are the four classes of neuroglia? 

Which class is important during a stroke (and why?),

Which class is protective again brain damage? 

Which assists to increase the conduction velocity of nerve impulses? 

Which assists in immune responses?


45.  Know the structure/functions of the major brain regions

and which common diseases are associated with which brain regions.


46.  What are some common clinical causes of brain damage? 


47.  What are the physiological mechanisms underlying a

cerebrovascular accident and what are some new

treatments to prevent further neuronal cell death?


48.  What are some modern technical devices used

to detect brain tumors and what are

their principles of operation?


49.  What is plasticity and how is it related to

use-dependent competition for cortical space?


50.  What are some selective language disturbances

that occur due to stroke or genetic defects? 


51.  How does the homunculus cartoon graphically

represent our perceived input and responsive motor output? 

How does it demonstrate the somatotopic map?


52.  What cell type does Parkinson's disease target? 

Be familiar with clinical symptoms, cellular causes and

mechanisms, putative causes of this disease, and

present as well as controversial treatments of the disease.

How is this disease related to Schizophrenia?


53.  What cell type does Alzheimer's disease target?

Be familiar with clinical symptoms, cellular causes and

mechanisms.  How is this disease associated with a metal?


54.  More Computational Practice Problems –


Given the following information, [Nao] = 300 mM, [Nai] = 35 mM,

[Ko] = 47 mM, [Ki] = 410 mM, [Clo] = 60 mM, [Cli] = 150 mM, PNa (active) = 10,000,

pNa (rest) = 0.5, pK  = 10, pCl = 8.


A.  What is the equilibrium potential for chloride?

B.  What is the height of the action potential?

C.  What is the resting potential of the nerve if it is an octopus?

D.  Knowing B and C, will the nerve fire is there is a disturbance the moves the potential to -30 mV?

E.  If the nerve felt an electrical disturbance of 300 pA at point 0, how much

current would be remaining 100 um away if the length constant was 50 um?



A = +24 mV, B = 56 mV, C = -23 mV, D = yes b/c the threshold is -11 mV, E = 41 pA


55.  What is the reticular formation?  How does it relate

to your alertness?  How can we measure alertness and what

IS this electrical signal?  What are the levels of consciousness?

What is an electrocerebral silence?


56.  Describe why sleep is an active process.  Distinguish

between slow-wave and paradoxical sleep (delta and beta

waves respectively).


57.  Know the composition of the PNS and the 12 cranial nerves that originate

from the brain stem.  What is the map of associated functions with the white

matter vs. the grey matter of the spinal cord?  What are the components

of the reflex arc?   


Second Exam Study Questions:


1.  How are muscles the contractile specialists of the body?


2.  How are muscles categorized structurally and

physiologically in terms of function?


3.  Know the anatomy of skeletal muscle from

the organ down to the protein.


4.  Know the substructure of the sarcomere basic contractile

unit and what changes occur during skeletal muscle contraction.


5.  Describe fully and distinguish between the Sliding

Filament Theory and Excitation-Contraction Coupling.


6.  How is the structure of the "contractile" proteins

critical to their physiological function?

Compare the structure/function across actin and myosin.


7.  How is the role of Ca2+ different in skeletal, cardiac,

 and smooth muscle?


8.  Describe the steps of the cross-bridge cycle for skeletal muscle? 

How is it critically different in smooth muscle? 

How is excitation-contraction coupling different

in skeletal, smooth, and cardiac muscle? 


9.  Study fully the physiology of smooth muscle relating

its structure and function to that of cardiac and skeletal muscle. 


10.  Describe the components of whole muscle contraction

(latency, contraction, relaxation) and the cellular events

underlying theses mechanics.  What is a twitch, summation,

tetany, or fatigue?


11.  Describe the motor unit, what is motor unit recruitment? 

How does the motor unit and its recruitment change as we age?


12.  What are three cellular sources of fatigue? 

What is recovery in physiological terms?

What is muscle atrophy?  What are some common sources

and how can we minimize atrophy?


13.  Describe the clinical pathology of Muscular Dystrophy,

the cellular and genetic basis for the disease, and two newly

researched types of therapy for treatment of the muscle atrophy.


14.  What are intermediate filaments?  How do they relate to

dense bodies?  How does smooth muscle contract in the

absence of sarcomere units and troponin?


15.  Why can certain drugs and hormones modulate the

activity of smooth and cardiac muscles but are left ineffective

in modulation of skeletal muscle contraction?


16.  How can smooth muscle utilize more ATP per

cross-bridge cycle than that of skeletal, and still be

deemed economical in terms of energy expenditure? 

What is the latch phenomena (see text for greater

detail of this term)?


17.  Describe and contrast the two types of smooth muscle

and the parts of the body in which we would find them

functioning.  Which utilizes a functional syncytium in

connection with gap junction proteins?


18.  For myogenic single unit smooth muscle, what are the two

types of spontaneous depolarizations found in these two self-excitable

cells?  What kind of electrical activity would you expect to find

in your duodenum?  your gall bladder?  your heart?  your skin? 

your lungs?   your hamstring?


19.  Know the blood flow patterns of the heart and the major

chambers and vessels leading into and out of the heart.  Know

the 4 valves of the heart and which are open during ventricular

relaxation and which are open during ventricular contraction? 

What is the purpose of the valves and what is the anatomy

underlying its function? 


20.  How is the heart 2 pumps in series divided by a septum? 

What two major circulatory systems are involved? 

Septal defects can cause abnormal blood shunting....

where is blood normally shunted to relieve pressure during

fetal development?  And what clinical situation can develop

if normal physiological events do not occur properly at and

shortly after birth? 


21.  What two major nerves alter the myogenicity of the

cardiac muscle?  How?  Know the electrical conduction

pathway in the heart from origination of these two nerves

down through the Pûrkinje fibers.


22.  Distinguish between the action potentials in a general

nerve and those found in the myocardia.  Why is the duration

different and to what advantage is this?  How do APs compare

in different regions within the heart?  What electrical

advantage does this supply?


23.  Be able to go back and forth between the pressure changes

in the heart, the four heart sounds, the EKG, and the blood

volume of the heart to compare the time synchrony across these

diverse and interrelated events.


24.  Know which heart sounds correspond to the opening or closing

of which heart valves.  Where is the best resolution of the sound

on the human body for each valve?  What is a heart murmur and what

are three classic causes of a heart murmur?


25.  Know what the electrical basis is for the EKG and all the underlying

electrical components are for each wave or spectrum.  How is the shape,

waveform, and timing of the EKG used to diagnose heart disease states?

Be able to distinguish the following arrhythmias:  bradycardia, tachycardia,

ectopic pacemaker, ventricular tachycardia, flutter, atrial fibrillation,

and ventricular fibrillation. 


26.  Define A-V heart block in terms of the EKG P-R interval?  What are the

physiological changes that occur as the patient moves from 1st to 3rd degree

A-V block?  What does the EKG look like during a MI (Myocardial Infarction)?


27.  Be able to distinguish between the structural and hence functional

differences between the 3 major blood vessels in the body.  How does the

heart coordinate with these vessels?


28.  Understand the terminology used in heart disease:  atherosclerosis,

artheriosclerosis, ischemia, thrombosis, plaque, and embolism.


29.  What is the cellular mechanism for the development of plaque that commences

at the age of 16-18 years of age?  How are low-density and high density lipo-

proteins involved?  How is the incidence of CHD related to your levels

of cholesterol?


30.  How are exercise, menopause, pregnancy, lactation, smoking, genetic defects,

and diet related to your levels of LDL and/or HDL?


31.  An occlusion of your coronary vessel is known as what?  Where is the most

damaging location for an occlusion in your heart?  Why?  An occlusion in any

vessel of your brain is known as what?  What are 5 common treatments we discussed

in lecture to eleviate the oxygen deprivation caused by the occlusion?


32.  Distinguish between a myocardial infarction and myocardial ischemia?  What

are some differences and similarities in their clinical symptoms?  What is

the physiological target of nitroglycerine and by what type of molecule?


33.  What is the definition of cardiac output?  How does it relate to the rate

of parasympathetic and sympathetic discharge?  to stroke volume?  to mean

arterial pressure?  to EDV? 


34.  There are many mechanisms to regulate blood volume and blood pressure.  We

discussed only the classic stretch receptors located in the "resistance vessels".

Be familiar with this reflex pathway and how it can bring both high and

low blood pressure back to homeostatic conditions.


35.  Describe some physical laws governing blood flow.  Specifically what roles

do the length of the vessel, the viscosity of the blood, the radius of the vessel,

and the total cross sectional area of a class of vessels play in affecting

resistance to blood flow?  How would these then affect cardiac output? 


36.  Be familiar with clinical implications for non-laminar blood flow such as

functional cardiac murmurs, anemic conditions, and hypertension.  Understand

the physiological basis for the ausculatory method you use during routine blood

pressure measurements.


37.  Be able to calculate and recognize the clinical implications for blood

pressure, peripheral resistance, cardiac output, pulse pressure, and mean

arterial pressure.  You may bring a calculator if you like.


Study Questions for Exam 3:

Omit the red questions for examination purposes


1.  Know the equations for respiration and the carbonic anhydrase shift.  Know

the "CO2/O2 shuttle system" that defines how CO2 is transported from working

tissues to the lungs and how O2 is transported from the lungs to working



2.  What are the chemical properties of oxygen and carbon dioxide that require these

gases to be transported?  What is the structure of the key vertebrate respiratory

pigment, where do the gases attach to the molecule, and how does the molecule

change configuration when it is saturated?  Know the difference between oxyhemo-

globin, carbaminohemoglobin, and carboxyhemoglobin.  In what form are O2 and CO2



3. What determines whether Hb will bind or dissociate with a gas molecule and

how does it determine which gas?  For this answer think about the Haldene Effect,

partial pressure, and the sigmoid kinetics of oxygen-hemoglobin affinity.


4.  How would one calculate the PP for a given gas, given the total atmospheric

pressure?  What is the average PP for oxygen in the pulmonary capillaries?  In the

systemic capillaries?  At half saturation?  How is PP related to Hb-oxygen saturation

(describe properties of the sigmoid curve)?


5.  What is the Bohr Effect?  How does the kinetics/affinity of Hb for oxygen

change if there are changes in PP CO2?  pH?  temperature?  2,3-DPG?  CO poisoning?

or changes in breathing/ventilation?  Make sure that you can identify which

of these conditions would force oxygen to dissociate sooner than normal and which

would force oxygen to be retained longer than normal.  Does this assist gas exchange?

Why or why not?


6.  What are the anatomical components and functions of the conducting zone

versus the respiratory zone of the lungs?  Where is the only true location

for gas exchange in the lungs? 


7.  How does Boyle's Law and the movement of the diaphragm and related muscles

surrounding the pleural cavity explain the act of breathing in terms of

pressure gradients?  Know which muscles and nerves are operational during the

inspiration and expiration.  Know which processes require an input of ATP.


8.  What is the physiological basis for asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, lack

of compliance, and SIDS?  What is the difference between an obstructive versus

a restrictive lung disease?  If provided a set of "normal" spirometry values

and given a set of values from a patient, be able to diagnose the likely

disease state based on the provided lung capacity values. 


9.  Be very familiar and expect calculations for spirometry!!  They will be very

similar to what you have already done for your homework questions.




Spirometry Homework Problems:

1. If your patient's TLC was 7.0L and VC was 5.5L, calculate

the residual volume of air still in the lung?



2.  If this same patient weighed 54 kg and had an ERV of 2.5L and

an IRV of 2.5L, what would be the amount of fresh air brought

into the lung with each inspiration?

ANSWER:  392 ml


3.  If a patient has an IC of 3.5L and an IRV of 3.2L, weighs 60 kg

and an VA of 400 ml, how fast is this person breathing?

ANSWER:  2.2/min


4.  What is the VC of an individual wih an IRV of 2.5L, an IC of 3L,

a FRC of 4L?  Assume that the RV of this individual is 2.5L (quite large).

ANSWER:  4.5L (there are several routes to this answer)


5.  If you had a VC of 6L, a TV of 600 ml, a ERV of 2L, what would your

Inspiratory capacity be?




10.  What are some basic renal processes and why is the kidney so critical

to the operation of so many organ systems?


11.  What is the smallest functional unit of the kidney?  What are the

two types or classes of these functional units and how do they differ

functionally and anataomically?


12.  What are the 5 major regions of the nephron?  What is filtered in

each region?  What is the primary function that is linked to each region?

What can clinically disturb the function or filtration in a particular

region?  What are the regulatory processes that occur in each region

(hormonal?  active transport?  simple diffusion?)?


13.  Compare the three major functions of the kidney (GF, TR, and TS).


14.  How is clearance of substances through the glomerulus physically

and structurally regulated by size and charge of the molecule?


15.  Define GFR in terms of an equation and functionally.  How would the

follow perturb GFR?.....exercise, hemorrhage, excess fluids, diarrhea,

burns, trama, kidney stones.  What is autoregulation and how does it

keep GFR in register?


16.  How is glucose reabsorption defined by a carrier-limited reabsorption

process?  How much is the renal threshold for glucose?  What is glucosuria?

How can Diabetes mellitus be clinically determined?


17.  Describe the physiological steps for transepithelial transport for Na

across the pct.  How is transport of water facilitated by this process?


18.  Describe fully the process of countercurrent multiplication in the

loop of Henle.


19.  Compare and contrast the function of vasopressin and aldosterone in the

dct.  How do protein hormones operate differently than steroid hormones? 


20.  How is Na reabsorption functionally linked to K secretion?  Are they

always coupled?  Why is it so essential to maintain regularity in the

level of potassium in the plasma?


21.  Understand the anatomy and function of specialized regions within the JGA.

Know intricately the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone-system and how this system regulates

salt and water balance. 


22.  Be familiar with the following complications as they pertain to renal

failure such as albuminuria, proteinuria, hypertension, and congestive heart

failure.  What is athletic pseudonephritis?  glomerulonephritis?  Why is

activation of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone an "inappropriate trigger"

during a cardiac arrest?


23.  What is the principle mechanism underlying the artificial kidney?

Distinguish between acute, chronic, and end-stage renal failure.  What are

some advantages and disadvantages for kidney dialysis?


Study Questions for Final Exam (Digestive Physiology:

Omit the red questions for examination purposes


1.  What are the four primary processes of digestion?


2.  In each category of foodstuffs, what are the absorbable

units and intermediate breakdown products?  How is hydrolysis

involved in this process?


3.  Know the general anatomy of the GI tract....which contains the

endocrine glands?  what comprises the muscularis externa?  What

is B.E.R. and how does it contribute to motility along the GI



4.  What are some secondary roles of mastication?  Of taste



5.  What are the 2 phases of deglutition?  The steps of the first phase? 

The steps of the second phase?


6.  Know the chemistry behind acetylsalicyclic acid (aspirin)

absorption in the stomach.


7.  What are the four "stops" of gastric emptying?  Describe

the hormonal involvement and physiological mode of action

in each of these.  What are some additional factors that

may alter gastric motility?


8.  Be familiar with the physiology of vomiting and its causes.


9.  Compare peristalsis, haustrations, and segmentation in terms

of electrophysiology, location, and function.


10.  Know major stimulators and inhibitors of gastrin/gastric acid secretion.


11.  Discuss the physiology, prevention, and treatment of peptic ulcers.

What are the most common causes of ulceration?


12.  What is the composition of bile?  How does it relate to serum cholesterol

levels?  How does digestion of fat relate to the emulsification of fats?

What is micellar formation and how does it aid either digestion or



13.  Describe fully 2 medical complications related to high bile

production...what are the causes?  what are the treatments? 

how can these complications be diagnosed?


14.  Describe the structure of the brush border and the differential

absorption of fats vs. proteins/carbohydrates?


15.  Know fully the enzymology, E requirements, and transport mechanisms

for the incorporation of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats from the lumen

of the small intestine into the human body.  Be able to master these to

the point of manipulation and comparisons across the three.


16.  What is digested in each region of the GI tract?  What is absorbed

in each region of the GI tract?


17.  Compare the functions of the cells of the oxyntic mucosa of the

stomach (surface epithelial, mucous neck cells, parietal cells,

chief cells) with that of the cells comprising the brush border

of the small intestine (brush border, Crypts of Lieberkuhn).


18.  What role does the pancreas play in digestion?  Distinguish

between the acinar cells, the duct cells, and the Islets of Langerhans.


19.  What is a mass movement?  Describe the defecation reflex; how

does this relate to constipation or to appendicitis?  What are some

physiological causes for diarrhea?  What is Oral Rehydration Therapy (ORT)?



Study Questions for the Final Exam (Endocrinology and Reproductive Physiology):


1.  Know the anatomy of the hypothalamus and pituitary that comprise

the hypothalamic endocrine axis.  Know all the hormones that are synthesized

and released from this combined structure, their targets, and their points

of negative or positive regulatory feedback.


2.  Discuss the distinction between homeostasis for the individual versus

for the species in terms of genetic recombination via reproduction.


3.  Know the physiological functions of all the primary reproductive

organs for each gender.


4.  What are specific determining factors of sex determination

located on the Y chromosome?  Are both X chromosomes used for ovary genesis

and later for oogenesis?  What gene on the X chromosome is essential

for male secondary sexual characteristics and external genitalia?


5.  Review the steps of gametogenesis for spermatogenesis and oogenesis.

Know all the hormonal controls governing these processes.


6.  Know the molecular targets of LH, FSH, inhibin,

activin, follistatin, GnRH, FSH, hCG.


7.  Discuss the pulsatile and periodic changes in LH-FSH secretion and

how this is best utilized for function across the genders?

What have been some discovers made while trying to treat

infertility due to hyposecretion or irregular control of the hypothalamic generator?


8.  Be intricately familiar with the hormonal regulation of the ovarian

cycle.  Comprehend the physiology of oral contraception.  What are some benefits

and associated risks with their use?


9.  What is the physiological role for ABP in spermatogenesis? 

What is spermiation?  How long does it take to complete?  How long

can sperm be stored in the human body?


10.  Know the structure/function relationships of the human spermatozoan.


11.  Discuss the ramifications of limited gamete production and unequal

cytoplasmic division during oogenesis?  How will this affect family



12.  Describe the process of luteinization and luteolysis of the

corpus luteum?


13.  Be able to define complications of menstruation such as

amenorrhea, anovulatory cycles, polycystic ovary syndrome and the

types of drugs we have developed as our knowledge of menses



14.  Describe how the uterine endometrium is prepared for implantation?


15.  Compare the male sex act with the female sex act?


16.  Know the plasma hormonal changes that occur

over the course of gestation and menstration.  Know what

the physiological targets and biological effects of these hormones?

Which are secreted maternally?  Which placentally?


17.  What is the female's body response to pregnancy? 


18.  What are some guidelines for exercise during pregnancy?


19.  What is the suckling reflex of lactation?


20.  What is the composition of human milk?  What is colostrum?

How much milk is produced?


21.  What are some of the benefits of breast feeding and

why should there be better patient education in this



22.  State some common causes of male and female infertility?

What are the most frequent problems and how are they

clinically diagnosed?