Anatomy & Physiology Integumentary #5

Question

Which integumentary structure insulates the body thus plays an important role in thermoregulation?

Answers

  1. Hair
    • Rationale:

      Hair traps and retains warm air on the surface of the skin; however, it does not insulate the body.

  2. Hormones
    • Rationale:

      Certain hormones, such as epinephrine, increase the body’s metabolic rate thereby increasing heat production. Hormones do not, however, insulate the body.

  3. Blood vessels
    • Rationale:

      Blood vessels regulate body temperature through the processes of vasoconstriction (warming the body) and vasodilation (cooling the body). Blood vessels do not, however, insulate the body.

  4. Subcutaneous fat
    • Rationale:

      Subcutaneous fat is located in the hypodermis, the deepest layer of the skin. This tissue forms an insulating barrier for the body thereby regulating heat loss.

Overview

The hypodermis layer of the skin contains subcutaneous fat. This fat insulates the body; therefore, it plays an important role in thermoregulation.

Explanation

Learning Outcomes

Thermoregulation is the ability to keep body temperature within a certain range, even if the surrounding temperature is very different. Subcutaneous fat in the hypodermis insulates the body; therefore, this is the integumentary structure that insulates the body. Hair, hormones, and blood vessels also play specific roles in thermoregulation.

Test Taking Tip

Consider how each choice regulates the body’s temperature when determining the structure that insulates the body to answer this question correctly.

Video Rationale