Essay about Integumentary System

Submitted By etjohn07
Words: 913
Pages: 4

The integumentary system consists of the skin, hair, nails, and glands. The word INTEGUMENT comes from a Latin word that means “covering”. The skin is the largest organ of the body that is waterproof and airtight so that water and other things keep out. With the skin being waterproof it helps the body to stay dry and prevents the body from losing its fluids and drying out. The skin protects the body from many infectious organisms and harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation. The skin also helps control the body’s temperature and has its unique way of converting ultraviolet light into vitamin D which is very important for building strong bones and teeth. The skin is one of the first defense mechanisms in your immune system. The skin has a way to go through thermoregulation which secretes sweat to cool down the body when the body’s temperature begins to rise during exercise; it also removes toxins through sweat. The skin is a protective covering that consists of 3 layers the epidermis, dermis which is the 2 major regions that are considered the real integument. The hypodermis is the third layer and is not considered a layer of the integument and is highly vascularized. The epidermis is made up of stratified squamous epithelium tissue that is capable of keratinizing. The epidermis alone is composed of five strata layers, from the most superficial layer to the deep layer are stratum corneum the most outer layer which has up to 30 layers of dead cells that has no nuclei or organelles and sheds constantly. This layer is completely keratinized. The next layer is the stratum lucidum which is a very thin layer and is full of keratin and oil substances but is seen only in thick skin. Then comes stratum granulosum, it is three to five layers of flat keratinocytes the cells contain a lipid rich substance that helps to waterproof the skin, prevents the skin from dehydrating and cuts off surface strata from nutrient supply. The stratum spinosum has several layers of keratinocytes and the deepest spinosum layer can undergo mitosis which helps push more keratin toward the surface. The stratum basale is the deepest cell layer of the epidermis. It is a single layer of cuboidal cells attached to the basement membrane. These cells undergo rapid cell division, which are keratinocytes and melanocytes. The keratinocytes produce keratin to protect against wear and tear. Melanocytes produce melanin that is phagocytosed by keratinocytes and forms a protective cap over the nuclei from UV rays. The melanin protects the nuclei from DNA damage. These cells together allow skin pigmentation, protection from UV and are found only in the epidermis. The next major region is the dermis which is separated from the superficial epidermis by a wavy boundary that offers structural integrity. The layers of the dermis are the papillary layer that’s made of areolar tissue and then the reticular layer which consists of dense irregular tissue is the deepest part of the dermis. The dermis contains proteins collagen, elastic, and reticular fibers. The mast cells found in the dermis are responsible for releasing two chemicals heparin and histamine. Heparin is a natural blood thinner and histamine causes vasodilation. The dermis has blood vessels, nerves, sensory receptors, hair follicles and different types of glands such as sweat glands, sebaceous glands, and apocrine glands. The nails are protective covers on the ends of fingers and toes. The main function of the integumentary system is to provide a protective covering for the body. The skin protects the body from many infectious