Negative feedback systems in hormonal control – Higher

Homeostatic control

In animals, conditions such as water concentration, temperature, and glucose concentration must be kept as constant as possible. Control systems that keep such conditions constant are examples of homeostasis; this is the maintenance of constant internal conditions in an organism.

A negative feedback mechanism is an important type of control that is found in homeostasis. A negative feedback control system responds when conditions change from the ideal or set point and returns conditions to this set point. There is a continuous cycle of events in negative feedback.

General stages in negative feedback

In general this works by:

  • if the level of something rises, control systems reduce it again
  • if the level of something falls, control systems raise it again
Conditions in the body change from set point, the change is detected and corrective mechanisms are activated. Conditions then return to set point and corrective mechanisms are switched off.Negative feedback flowchart

An example of negative feedback is the control of body temperature. Body temperature is controlled by the hypothalamus in your brain, and if your body gets too hot, your body begins to sweat to try and reduce it. Conversely if the body gets too cold, it begins to shiver to try and raise the temperature.