Body temperature is one of the factors that is controlled during homeostasis. The human body maintains the temperature that enzymes work best, which is around 37°C.
If body temperature increases over this temperature, enzymes will denature and become less effective at catalysing important reactions, such as respiration.
This process is controlled by the thermoregulatory centre, which is contained in the hypothalamus in the brain, and it contains receptors sensitive to the temperature of the blood. The skin also has temperature receptors and sends nervous impulses back to the hypothalamus.
The hypothalamus responds to this information by sending nerve impulses to effectors in the skin to maintain body temperature.
The skin contains three layers: The epidermis, dermis and a layer of fatty tissue.
Structures within these layers are involved in thermoregulation.
When we get too hot:
When we get too cold:
The control of body temperature is an example of a negative feedback mechanism. It regulates the amount of: