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Organic Compound

Any compound composed of atoms (some of which are carbon) held together by covalent (shared electron) bonds


A part of the body formed of two or more tissues and adapted to carry out a specific function; e.g. the stomach


Steroid found in animal fats as wells as in most body tissues; made by the liver

Epithelium (epithelial tissue)

Pertaining to a primary tissue that covers the body surface, lines its internal cavities, and forms glands

Synthesis (combination) reaction

A chemical reaction in which larger, more complex atoms or molecules are formed from simpler ones

Negative feedback mechanisms

The most common of homeostatic control mechanisms. The net effect is that the output of the system shuts off the original stimulus or reduces its intensity.

Chemical Energy

Energy stored in the bonds of chemical substances


Process in which water is used to split a substance into smaller particles.


Organ specialized to secrete or excrete substances for further use in the body or for elimination

Polar Molecules

Non-symmetrical molecules that contain electrically unbalanced atoms


Organic Compound composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen; includes starches, sugars, cellulose.

Lymphatic System

System consisting of lymphatic vessels, lymph nodes, and other lymphoid organs and tissues; drains excess tissue fluid from the extracellular space and provides a site for immune surveillance.

RNA (Ribonucleic Acid)

Nucleic acid that contains ribose and the bases A,G,C, and U. Carries out DNA's instructions for protein synthesis.

Sex Chromosomes

The chromosomes, X and y, that determine genetic sex (XX=femal, XY=male); the 23rd pair of chromosomes


Fats and oils composed of fatty acids and glycerol; are the body's most concentrated source of energy fuel; also known as neutral fats.


Cancer causing agent


A homogeneous mixture of two or more components

Transverse (horizontal) section

A plane running from right to left, dividing the body into superior and inferior parts

Atomic Number

The number of protons in an atom


The symbol for hydrogen ion concentration; a measure of relative acidity or alkalinity of a solution

Inferior (caudal)

Pertaining to a position near the tail end of the long axis of the body.


The spreading of particles in a gas or solution with a movement toward uniform distribution of particles.


1. A cell or nerve ending of a sensory neuron specialized to respond to particular types of stimuli 2.) Molecule that binds specifically with other molecules e.g. neurotransmitters, hormones, and antigens.

Sagittal Section

A longitudinal (vertical) plane that divides the body or any of its parts into right and left portions.


A chain of amino acids


White, semi-opaque connective tissue

Atomic Mass Number

Sum of the number of protons and neutrons in the nucleus of an atom.


Ionic compound that dissociates into charged particles (other than hydrogen or hydroxyl ions) when dissolved in water.

Decomposition Reaction

Chemical reaction in which a molecule is broken down into smaller molecules or its constituent atoms.

Skeletal system

System of protection and support composed primarily of bone and cartilage.

Midsagittal (median) section

Specific sagittal plane that lies exactly in the midline.

Extracellular matrix

Nonliving material that separates the living cells in connective tissue consisting of ground substance and fibers.


(1) A thin layer or flat plate: (2) the portion of a vertebra between the transverse process and the spinous process.


Band of regular fibrous tissue that connects bones.


Organ, gland, or muscle capable of being activated by nerve endings.


Structures in the nucleus that carry the hereditary factors (genes).


Control center of a cell; contains genetic material.




Below normal tone or tension


A group of similar cells (and their intercellular substance) specialized to perform a specific function; primary tissue types of the body are epithelial, connective, muscle, and nervous tissue.


Main carbohydrate stored in animal cells; a polysaccharide.


Excessive, above normal, tone or tension.


A substance capable of binding with hydrogen ions; a proton acceptor.


Substance composed of two or more different elements, the atoms of which are chemically united.


Pertaining to the skull.


Principal blood sugar; a hexose.

Frontal (coronal) section

Longitudinal (vertical) plane that divides the body into anterior and posterior parts.


The shriveling of a cell, for example an erythrocyte, resulting from loss of water.


The substance that is dissolved in a solution.


A substance that releases hydrogen ions when in solution (compare with Base); a proton donor.

Urinary system

System primarily responsible for water, electrolyte, and acid-base balance and removal of nitrogenous wastes.

Plasma Membrane

Membrane, composed of three lamina layers, that encloses cell contents; outer limiting cell membrane.


Portion of the body between the diaphragm and the pelvis


Anything that occupies space and has mass.


Building block of nucleic acids; consists of a sugar, a nitrogen-containing base, and a phosphate group.

Muscle fiber

A muscle cell.


Engulfing of extracellular fluid by cells.


The cellular material surrounding the nucleus and enclosed by the plasma membrane.


Pertaining to the front; anterior.


The capacity to do work; may be stored (potential energy) or in action (kinetic energy).

Dehydration synthesis

Process by which a large molecule is synthesized by covalently bonding smaller molecules together


The front of an organism, organ, or part; the ventral surface.


Refers to the chest.

Ionic Bond

Chemical bond formed by electron transfer between atoms.

Pressure gradient

Difference in hydrostatic pressure that drives filtration

Mechanical energy

The energy directly involved in moving matter; e.g., in bicycle riding, the legs provide the mechanical energy that moves the pedals.


Organelles that originate from the Golgi apparatus and contain strong digestive enzymes.

Nucleic acid

Class of organic molecules that includes DNA and RNA.

Electrical energy

Energy formed by the movement of charged particles across cell membranes.


Away from the midline of the body.


A malignant, invasive cellular neoplasm that has the capability of spreading throughout the body or body parts.


Small cellular structures (ribosomes, mitochondria, and others) that perform specific metabolic functions for the cell as a whole.


Elimination of waste products from the body.




Region of the diencephalon forming the floor of the third ventricle of the brain.


The smallest part of an element; indivisible by ordinary chemical means.


The living animal (or plant), which represents the sum total of all its organ systems working together to maintain life.


Minute body found near the nucleus of the cell; active in cell division.

Adenosine triphosphate (ATP)

Organic molecule that stores and releases chemical energy for use in body cells.


Particle consisting of two or more atoms joined together by chemical bonds.

Passive Transport

Membrane transport processes that do not require cellular energy (ATP), e.g., diffusion, which is driven by kinetic energy.


Abnormal accumulation of fluid in body parts or tissues; causes swelling.


Reduction in size or wasting away of an organ or cell resulting from disease or lack of use.


Study of the function of living organisms.


Toward the attached end of a limb or the origin of a structure.


Isotope that exhibits radioactive behavior.

Intracellular fluid

Fluid within a cell.


Ability to respond to a stimulus.

DNA Deoxyribonucleic acid)

A nucleic acid found in all living cells; it carries the organism's hereditary information.


Engulfing of foreign solids by (phagocytic) cells.

Active Transport

Membrane transport processes for which ATP is provided, e.g., solute pumping and endocytosis.

Chemical Bond

An energy relationship holding atoms together; involves the interaction of electrons.


Toward the midline of the body.


Long, whiplike extension of the plasma membrane of some bacteria and a sperm; propel the cell.


Complex substance containing carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, and nitrogen; composes 10% to 30% of cell mass.


Group of chemical substances including certain hormones and cholesterol; they are fat soluble and contain little oxygen.


pertaining to the cheek


An abnormal mass of proliferating cells; benign _____ remain localized; malignant _____ are cancers, which can spread to other organs.


Chemical substances, such as salts, acids, and bases, that ionize and dissociate in water and are capable of conducting an electrical current.


The structural and functional unit of living organisms; contains a nucleus and a variety of organelles enclosed by a limiting membrane.


The process of spontaneous decay seen in some of the heavier isotopes, during which particles or energy is emitted from the atomic nucleus; results in the atom becoming more stable

Basement membrane

Extracellular material consisting of a basal lamina secreted by epithelial cells and a reticular lamina secreted by underlying connective tissue cells.


Away from the attached end of a limb or the origin of a structure.

Covalent bond

Chemical bond created by electron sharing between atoms.

Exchange (displacement) reaction

Chemical reaction in which bonds are both made and broken; atoms become combined with different atoms.

Connective tissue

A primary tissue; form and function vary extensively. Functions include support, storage, and protection.


One of the seven bones that form the ankle and heel.

Fatty acids

Linear chains of carbon and hydrogen atoms (hydrocarbon chains) with an organic acid group at one end. A constituent of fat.


Different atomic forms of the same element, vary only in the number of neutrons they contain; the heavier species tend to be radioactive.

Atomic Weight

The average of the mass numbers of all the isotopes of an element.


Study of the structure of living organisms.

Chemical reaction

Process in which molecules are formed, changed, or broken down.


Cytoplasmic organelles responsible for ATP generation for cellular activities.

Goblet cells

Individual cells (unicellular glands) that produce mucus.

Positive feedback mechanisms

Feedback that tends to cause the level of a variable to change in the same direction as an initial change.

Inorganic compound

Chemical substances that do not contain carbon, including water, salts, and many acids and bases.

Kinetic energy

The energy of motion or movement, e.g., the constant movement of atoms, or the push given to a swinging door that sets it into motion.


Literally, one sugar; building block of carbohydrates; e.g., glucose.


One of the eight bones of the wrist.


A modified simple sugar (a sugar alcohol).

Interstitial fluid

Fluid between the cells.

Muscular system

The organ system consisting of the skeletal muscles of the body and their connective tissue attachments.


Tiny projections on the free surfaces of some epithelial cells; increase surface area for absorption.


Glassy; transparent.

Endocrine system

Body system that includes internal organs that secrete hormones.


Modified lipid containing phosphorus


Pertaining to the arm.

Radiant (electromagnetic) energy

Energy form that travels in waves.


Refers to the neck or the necklike portion of an organ or structure.


Literally, many sugars, a polymer of linked monosaccharides; e.g., starch, glycogen.


Negatively charged subatomic particle; orbits the atom's nucleus.


The spread of cancer from one body part or organ into another not directly connected to it.

Amino acid

Organic compound containing nitrogen, carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen; building block of protein.

Valence shell

Outermost electron shell (energy level) of an atom that contains electrons.


Subatomic particle that bears a positive charge; located in the atomic nucleus.


Organic compound formed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen; examples are fats and cholesterol.


Atom with a positive or negative electric charge.


Cytoplasmic organelles at which proteins are synthesized.

Atomic symbol

The one- or two-letter symbol used to indicate an element; usually the first letter(s) of the element's name


Literally, double sugar; e.g., sucrose, lactose.


Dense spherical bodies in the cell nucleus involved with ribosomal subunit synthesis and storage.


One of a limited number of unique varieties of matter that composes substances of all kinds; e.g., carbon, hydrogen, oxygen.

Hydrogen bond

Weak bond in which a hydrogen atom forms a bridge between two electron-hungry atoms. An important intramolecular bond.


The division of cytoplasm that occurs after the cell nucleus has divided.


Uncharged subatomic particle; found in the atomic nucleus.


Process during which the chromosomes are redistributed to two daughter nuclei; nuclear division. Consists of prophase, metaphase, anaphase, and telophase.

Polar molecules

Nonsymmetrical molecules that contain electrically unbalanced atoms.


Pertaining to the groin region.

Organ system

A group of organs that work together to perform a vital body function; e.g., the nervous system.

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