MCAT Physiology Study Questions

These are questions I came up with when I was studying for the MCAT.

On this page:

bulletNervous System
bulletSpecial Senses
bulletCirculatory System
bulletEndocrine System
bulletRespiratory System
bulletDigestive System
bulletUrinary System
bulletMusculoskeletal System
bulletImmune System
bulletReproductive System and Embryogenesis

Also, see MCAT Biology Study Questions.


Please notify me of any mistakes that you may find.



Nervous System

  1. What is the difference between the terms NERVE and NEURON?
  2. What is the difference between the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system?  To what does the spinal cord belong?
  3. What is a neuron?  What are the different forms of neurons?  Where are bipolar neurons usually found?
  4. What is white matter?  Why is it white?  What is gray matter?  What part of the brain is gray matter?  What part of the spinal cord is gray matter?
  5. What are dendrites?  What are axons?  What is a soma (cell body)? 
  6. What is the axon terminal?  What organelles, etc. can be found at the axon terminal?
  7. What insulates the axon?
  8. What is the axon hillock?  Why is it important?
  9. What is a neurotransmitter?  How are they used?
  10. What is an action potential?  What is meant by all-or-none?
  11. What are glial cells?  Where are they found?  What are the common types of glial cells?
  12. What are Schwann cells?  Where are they found?  What are oligodendrocytes?  Where are they found?
  13. How do neurons benefit from myelin?  What is meant by "saltatory"?  What are the Nodes of Ranvier?
  14. What is the blood brain barrier?  Why are pharmaceutical companies interested in it?
  15. What is a synapse?  What is a neuromuscular junction?
  16. What are synaptic knobs?  What are neurotransmitters?
  17. What is an action potential?  Can action potentials vary in strength?  What is used to propagate the action potential within the neuron?
  18. What is the difference between an excitatory and inhibitory nerve fiber?  Which one is more likely to hyperpolarize a membrane? 
  19. What is temporal summation?  What is spatial summation?
  20. Where in a neuron is the nucleus found?
  21. What is an effector neuron?
  22. Is a single action potential in the neuron of a motor end plate usually enough to trigger muscle contraction?
  23. Is motor function associated with the dorsal or ventral part of the spinal cord?  What about sensory information?
  24. What are ganglia?  What is a dorsal root ganglion?
  25. What receptors are used to sense body position?
  26. What are two common but different meanings of the term RECEPTOR as used in biology?
  27. What term is used to refer to the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems together?
  28. What is the difference between the terms AFFERENT and EFFERENT?
  29. What branch of the ANS is associated with the "Fight or Flight" response?
  30. What branch of the ANS is often described as "Feed or Breed" or "Rest and Digest"?
  31. How do the two branches of the ANS each affect pupil size?
  32. Which branch of the ANS "flows out" from the cranial nerves and the sacral portion of the spinal cord?
  33. Which branch of the ANS "flows out" from the thoracic and lumbar portions of the spinal cord?
  34. What are nicotonic receptors?  What neurotransmitter(s) are they associated with?
  35. Which branch of the ANS are associated with muscarinic receptors?  What neurotransmitter(s) are they associated with?
  36. What portion of sympathetic nervous system conduction employs the neurotransmitter acetylcholine?
  37. What neurotransmitter is released by postganglionic sympathetic neurons?
  38. What does acetylcholinesterase (AChE) do?  What does monoamine oxidase (MAO) do?
  39. Where are most sympathetic ganglia found?  What organ(s) is/are activated directly by a preganglionic sympathetic neuron?
  40. What part of the ANS interfaces with the skin?
  41. What large cranial nerve wanders throughout the body?  
  42. The term 'CORTEX' refers to what part of an organ?  What about 'MEDULLA'?
  43. Why do narcotic (heroin, oxycodone, etc.) overdoses kill?  i.e. What fails first?
  44. What are the differences between spinal nerves and cranial nerves?
  45. For the cranial nerves that have autonomic functions, what branch of the ANS are they?  Are all cranial nerves associated with the ANS?
  46. What is the "medulla"?  What important functions does it have?
  47. What is the difference between the cerebrum and the cerebellum?
  48. Where does "higher brain functioning" occur?
  49. What lobe is associated with vision?
  50. What lobe is associated with hearing?
  51. What is the pons?  What is the midbrain?
  52. What is the diencephalon composed of?
  53. What is the thalamus?  What is the hypothalamus?
  54. What is the corpus callosum?  What does it connect?
  55. Where is the body's thermostat located?  thirst center?  breathing center?
  56. What is the optic chiasma?
  57. What is meant by the term "demyelination disease"?
  58. What are reflexes?  What is the general conduction path of a reflex?  What is a reflex arc?  How does the spinal cord participate in reflexes?  How does the brain?
  59. Muscarinic and nicotonic receptors bind with what neurotransmitter/hormone(s)?
  60. Organophosphates (nerve gas, insecticides) inhibit acetylcholinesterase.  What effects might organophosphates have on the body?

Special Senses

  1. What is the retina?  What is meant by "fovea"? How is the image projected on the retina different than the image in real life?
  2. What is the difference between rods and cones?  Which are useful in dim light?
  3. What causes the blind spot in the human eye?
  4. What is rhodopsin?  Where is it found?
  5. What is the aqueous humor?  What is the vitreous humor?  What separates the two?
  6. What do the ciliary muscles control the shape of?  What happens to this object when the ciliary muscles contract?
  7. Why do cornea transplants work well?  What does the cornea do?
  8. What is the conjunctiva?  What is the sclera?
  9. What is meant by left/right field of vision?  Is the left field of vision captured by the left eye, right eye, or both?  Which hemisphere of the brain handles each field of vision?
  10. What lobe of the brain handles vision?
  11. What size are the pupils of someone on cocaine are more likely to be?  Somebody on heroin?  Why?
  12. What is myopia?  Where does the light focus relative to the retina in myopia?  What is the opposite of myopia?  What type of lenses are used to correct each?
  13. What is accommodation? What is the loss of accommodation called?
  14. What will atropine (an anticholinergic) do to the diameter of the pupil?
  15. What is the difference between the oval window and the round window?
  16. What separates the middle ear from the outer ear?  Is the middle ear filled with liquid?  How does it communicate with the pharynx?
  17. What are the bones in the ear?
  18. What are the semicircular canals?  How are they positioned relative to each other?
  19. What characteristic of sound corresponds to pitch?
  20. What is the difference between perilymph and endolymph?
  21. What is an otolith?
  22. What are stereocilia?  How are they "triggered"?
  23. What is the Organ of Corti?  Where is it located?  What does it do?
  24. Of the four tastes, which is that of acids?
  25. How is taste affected by smell?
  26. What type of neuron (polarity) is prevalent in special sensory neurons?
  27. Is it possible for enantiomers of a molecule to smell differently?  Why?





Circulatory System


  1. What are the four chambers of the heart?  Which of the four is the largest?
  2. What is the difference between AORTA and the ATRIA?
  3. How do the terms CARDIAC and CORONARY specifically differ?
  4. What happens to the heart when the nerves that connect it to the brain are severed?
  5. What does systolic blood pressure measure?  What does diastolic blood pressure measure?  What does mean arterial pressure measure?
  6. What are the names of the valves in the heart?  Where are they located?
  7. Which type of vessel is primarily responsible for regulating peripheral resistance?
  8. Which type of vessel has the largest total cross sectional area?  Which type has the lowest velocity?
  9. What is the primary pacemaker in the heart?  What approximately is its rate under normal conditions? 
  10. What pacemakers compete in the heart?  What is the basic rule for which one will succeed?
  11. Does the conduction speed up or slow down when going through the AV node?  Why (for what purpose) does it do this?
  12. What is the affect of beta-1 adrenergic receptor stimulation on the heart?  What is the affect of parasympathetic stimulation on the heart? 
  13. What branch of the ANS is the vagus nerve associated with?  What are its effects?
  14. What are the layers of the heart?  What is the difference between EPICARDIUM and PERICARDIUM?
  15. What are chordae tendonae?  What two things do they connect?
  16. Which half of the heart powers the systemic circulation?  How do the flow rates between systemic and pulmonary circulations compare?  blood pressures?
  17. What is responsible for the audible "beat" heard in a stethoscope?
  18. What is diastole?  What is systole?
  19. What specifically does cardiac output measure?
  20. What are the two general factors in determining blood pressure?
  21. What is the significance of the term "end-diastolic volume"?  What does the Frank-Starling law say?
  22. What is an ectopic pacemaker?  What is bradycardia?  What is tachycardia?  What is asystole?  What is a complete (3rd degree) heart block?
  23. What is the Bundle of His?  What are bundle branches?  What are Purkinje fibers?
  24. Where is the SA node?  What does it do?
  25. What is the effect of alpha-one receptor stimulation on blood vessels?  What about beta-two?
  26. How does the heart respond initially to excessive blood loss? 
  27. How does congestive heart failure cause fluid to build up in the lung tissue?
  28. What is the difference between preload and afterload?
  29. How does the administration of electrical shocks stop ventricular fibrillation?
  30. What do P-waves represent?  What does the QRS complex represent?
  31. Would it be possible for a heart that doesn't contract to show P-waves and QRS complexes?
  32. How might it be possible for a person with organized cardiac contractions to still have an effective pulse rate of zero?
  33. Is the normal heart rate in  children faster or slower than that of adults?
  34. What are the coronary arteries?  Where do they receive their blood from?
  35. How does fetal circulation differ from neonate circulation?
  36. Where are the main baroreceptors located?
  37. What is shock?  In shock, what happens to cutaneous blood vessels?  Why?
  38. What type of vessel are pulses best felt?  Why are pulses sometimes felt in veins?
  39. What is the vena cava?  To which chamber of the heart does it connect?
  40. What are the typical layers in a large blood vessel?  What about capillaries?
  41. What is stroke volume?  How does it relate to cardiac output?
  42. What is atherosclerosis?  How might this contribute to an MI?
  43. What is the difference between thrombi and emboli?
  44. What are the general steps of hemostasis? 
  45. How is fibrinogen activated?  What does fibrin do?  What do platelets do?  What is plasminogen?  What is thrombin?
  46. What are clotting factors?  What is hemophilia?
  47. What element is responsible for the color of blood?  In what molecules are these elements found?
  48. What is the hepatic portal circulation system?
  49. Why does cardiac output decrease with extremely fast heart rates?
  50. What is the general relationship between diameter of a vessel and its resistance?
  51. Where are erythrocytes formed?  Do they have a nucleus?  Do they have ribosomes? How long do they normally live?
  52. Where do platelets come from?  What is meant by "cell fragment"?
  53. What is carbonic anhydrase?  Where is it found?
  54. How is oxygen transported in the blood?
  55. What are the three main ways carbon dioxide is transported in the blood?
  56. What is carboxyhemoglobin?  What is carbaminohemoglobin?
  57. How does pH affect oxygen-hemoglobin binding?  the effect of 2,3-DPG?
  58. What is a hematocrit?  What are the ballpark normal values?  What is the buffy coat?
  59. How do cardiac cells communicate with each other?  Are neurons part of electrical system?
  60. What is albumin?  What is its main function?
  61. How does "hydrostatic" change going from the arterial to the venous side of capillaries?  How about osmotic pressure?
  62. What does the term oncotic pressure refer to?
  63. What are colloids?  How does this relate to blood?
  64. What is dialysis?
  65. What are the globulins in the blood?
  66. What is the difference between blood, plasma, and serum?
  67. What vessels have valves?
  68. What does carotid refer to?  What about jugular?  Brachial?
  69. Where are the iliac arteries?
  70. How does the body respond to extremely cold temperatures?  How is the heart rate affected?
  71. Why does the fastest pacemaker dominate the others?  Why don't they add together?
  72. How are non-water soluble molecules transported in the blood?
  73. What is sickle cell anemia?  What causes it?  What precipitates an attack?
  74. What are LDLs?  What are HDLs?  Which ones are the "bad" ones?  Why?
  75. On the basis of depolarization, what are the two types of cardiac muscle cells?
  76. How is cardiac muscle similar to skeletal muscle?  How is it similar to smooth muscle?  Is it striated?  Is it multinucleate?
  77. What type of muscle surrounds arterioles?  What type of reflex action do these muscles in regards to increase in pressure?
  78. What is edema?  What type of edema would most likely be present in left side heart failure? Right side heart failure?
  79. How does starvation and malnutrition lead to edema?
  80. Why do diabetics often become amputees?  
  81. How is poor circulation related to thromboses?  to gangrene?
  82. Pale skin is indicative of what? 
  83. What is cyanosis?  What is pallor?  When do you see each of them?
  84. What is lividity? 
  85. Where are old red blood cells removed from circulation?  What happens to the hemoglobin?
  86. How does blood pressure affect glomerular filtration rate?
  87. How does histamine affect blood vessels?  What releases histamine?
  88. What are the consequences of stagnant blood?  What happens when this blood is suddenly released back into circulation?
  89. What is the difference between distributive shock and cardiogenic shock?  What is hypovolemia?
  90. What does the suffix -emia mean?  What about -penia?
  91. Why is high glucose concentration in the blood detrimental to type II diabetics? 
  92. What is the blood brain barrier?
  93. What is bulk flow (in relation to capillaries)?  What are fenestrated capillaries?
  94. What is "water potential"?
  95. What are the three main liquid compartments of the body?  Which two communicate easier (less hindered) with each other than with the third?
  96. What are fibrinolytics?  How are these used with MIs?  Which type of stroke (cause) might these be useful for?  What type of stroke might these be harmful for?
  97. Which are usually more superficial, arteries or veins?  Which are usually deep?
  98. What is the difference (in signs, appearance) of capillary bleeding, venous bleeding, and arterial bleeding?
  99. What is an aneurysm?  What is stenosis?  What is an infarction (in general)?  What is the difference between ischemia and hypoxemia? 
  100.  In a healthy individual, what is the body's primary indicator of hypoxia?  What about in COPD patients?
  101. What is acidosis?  What is the difference between the causes of respiratory acidosis and metabolic acidosis?
  102. Where do bicarbonate ions in the blood come from?
  103. What is the normal pH of the blood?  How is this affected by not breathing?  How is this affected by hyperventilation?
  104. What is the buffer system in the blood composed of?
  105. Why do intravenous drug users often develop chronic heart problems?
  106. What is the SA node?  What is the AV node?  Where are they located?
  107. How big (in micrometers) is the diameter of a red blood cell?  How wide is the typical capillary?
  108. What are the three main systems in the body that regulate pH of the blood?
  109. How do blood vessels help regulate body temperature?  If the body overheats, what is expected to happen to certain blood vessels?  Where are these blood vessels found?
  110. Where does the exchange of gas and nutrients mainly take place?
  111. What are baroreceptors?
  112. What is hemoglobin's affinity for oxygen compared to that of carbon monoxide?



Endocrine System


  1. What is the difference between ENDOCRINE and EXOCRINE?
  2. What are the endocrine products of the pancreas?  What are the exocrine products?
  3. Which lobe of the pituitary releases hormones produced in the hypothalamus and transported via neurons?
  4. Which lobe of the pituitary communicates with the hypothalamus via blood?
  5. What are the differences between somatotropin, somatostatin, and somatomedins?  Which is growth hormone?  Which inhibits the release of growth hormone?
  6. What is the prototypical glucocorticoid hormone?  What about mineralocorticoid hormone?  Which one is the most affected by adrenocorticotropic hormone? 
  7. Which hormones are steroids?  Where do steroid hormones bind to their receptors?  What are some steroids that are not hormones?
  8. What are catecholamines?  Where are they produced?  Are they water soluble?  What amino acid are they derived from?
  9. What hormones contain iodide?  Where are they produced?  Are they water soluble?  What amino acid are they derived from?
  10. How does being hydrophilic or hydrophobic affect the hormone?
  11. What type of biomolecule are the hormones from the pituitary gland?  Are they water soluble?
  12. What is the differences between the diabetes mellitus and diabetes insipidus?  What hormones are involved with each?  What is the "opposite" of diabetes insipidus?
  13. What is another name for vasopressin?  What does this hormone do?
  14. What two hormones are released from the posterior pituitary gland?
  15. Parathyroid hormone does what?  What does calcitonin do?  Which one is more important?  How does Vitamin D tie into this?
  16. What does erythropoietin do?  Where is it primarily produced?
  17. What is produced by alpha cells in the pancreas?  beta cells?  What are the islets of Langerhans?
  18. Does the brain require insulin?  Do muscle cells require insulin?
  19. What is produced by the adrenal medulla?  the adrenal cortex?
  20. What does glucagon do?
  21. What is caused by high levels of oxytocin?  What type of doctor might find synthetic oxytocin useful?
  22. What is Graves disease?
  23. What is Cushing's syndrome?  What are the signs and symptoms of this syndrome?
  24. What hormone is analogous to synthetic steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs?
  25. Where is aldosterone produced?  What does aldosterone do?
  26. What is a main site of production of testosterone in females?  in males?
  27. What are secondary sexual characteristics?  Are primary sexual characteristics changed by hormone therapy?
  28. Where is calcitonin produced?  Where is PTH produced?
  29. What does the thyroid regulate?  What regulates the thyroid? 
  30. What is the difference between TRH and TSH?
  31. Decreased secretion of thyroxine (from problems arising from the thyroid gland) would cause what to happen to the levels of TSH?  Increased thyroxine would affect the levels of TSH in what way?
  32. What is negative feedback?  What is positive feedback?  Which one is associated with homeostasis?
  33. What is peculiar about the feedback inhibition relationship between LH and estrogens?  What causes the LH concentrations to spike?
  34. What hormone is tested for in common pregnancy tests?
  35. What do the Latin components of  "ADRENAL-" mean?  What do the Greek components of "EPINEPH-" mean?  What is another name for noradrenaline?
  36. Is renin a hormone or an enzyme?  What about angiotensin?  CCK? Pepsin? Aldosterone?  Gastrin?  Secretin?  Amylase? 
  37. What is the renin-angtiotensin-aldosterone system?  What part of this system is often associated with the lungs?  What do ACE inhibitors do?
  38. What contributes the faster response, hormones or neurons?  Why?
  39. "Alpha" and "Beta" receptors bind with what neurotransmitter/hormone(s)?
  40. What are the symptoms of hyperglycemia?  Which condition is the bigger medical emergency : hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia?  Which one can be caused by injecting too much insulin?
  41. What is the difference between diabetes mellitus types I and II?  Which one is insulin dependent?


Respiratory System


  1. What is the partial pressure of oxygen in the atmosphere?  What is it in the alveoli?
  2. Where is carbonic anhydrase located?  What is CHLORIDE SHIFT?
  3. What is metabolic acidosis?  How does the body compensate for it?
  4. What are bronchioles?  What is the effect of the sympathetic nervous system on them?
  5. What is the pleural cavity?  What causes a lung to collapse?
  6. What type of common gas decreases blood pH?  Is the blood pH greater in the lungs or near active muscles?
  7. What is negative pressure?  What is the difference between absolute and gauge pressure?
  8. What is the difference between negative pressure ventilation and positive pressure ventilation?  Which one does the body use?  Which one would a paramedic use?
  9. Is normal inspiration active or passive?  What about normal expiration?  What muscles are used?  How does this change on exertion?
  10. What does the root "phren-" usually refer to?  What is the phrenic nerve?
  11. What is the glottis?  What is the epiglottis? 
  12. Is the diaphragm smooth muscle or skeletal muscle?  Which way does it move when it contracts?
  13. What does surfactant do?  What would happen without it?
  14. Is the brain required for breathing?  Is the brain required for a heart beat?
  15. In what part of the brain is the breathing center located?
  16. In a healthy person, what is the main way the brain detects hypoxia?  Where are these receptors located?  What type of "breathing drive" emphysema/chronic bronchitis patients use?
  17. What is faster in regulating pH, the lungs or or kidneys?  Why?
  18. What causes respiratory alkalosis?
  19. What does tidal volume measure?  What is the normal tidal volume?
  20. What is anatomical dead space?  What is physiological dead space?
  21. What causes your lungs to contract upon expiration?
  22. What is a common cause of pulmonary edema?
  23. What are the three main things the nasal passages do to incoming air?
  24. Of what usefulness is mucus in the respiratory tract?  What happens to this mucus?
  25. What is the difference between the terms "mucus" and "mucosa"?
  26. What is a pneumothorax?  What is a hemothorax?  What is a pleural effusion? 
  27. What is Cystic Fibrosis?  What effects does it have on the lungs?
  28. How do scuba divers get decompression sickness?  What is nitrogen narcosis?  How does the ambient pressure cause these conditions?
  29. Why do paramedics put most patients on pure oxygen?  What would be detrimental about prolonged oxygen inhalation by a COPD patient?
  30. What shape is the oxygen binding curve for hemoglobin? for myoglobin?  Why?  What can cause this curve to shift to the right?  to the left?
  31. What are effects on the body of visiting a high altitude location?  What are the long term effects?
  32. How do fetuses "breath"?
  33. What disease involves a decrease in the alveoli surface area?  What are the consequences of this decreased surface area?
  34. Which is more likely to collapse, the esophagus or the trachea?


Digestive System


  1. Why is the GI tract technically outside of one's body?
  2. What are the three parts of the small intestines, in order?
  3. Where in the GI tract is the appendix located?
  4. What are the different parts of the large intestine?
  5. What is longer, the large or small intestine?
  6. Where in the GI tract does digestion take place?  What about absorption?
  7. What does 'pyloric' refer to?  What is meant by "fundus"?
  8. Is the stomach generally acidic or basic?  What molecule makes it that way?  What about the small intestines?  What molecule makes it that way?
  9. What is peristalsis?  Where does it occur?
  10. What is amylase?  What does it act on?  What are its two main locations of production?
  11. What is pepsinogen?  What is pepsin?  What cells secrete it?
  12. What cells in the stomach secrete acid?
  13. What is intrinsic factor?  What does it help absorb?
  14. What is excreted by the pancreas?  What do these molecules do?
  15. What is the brush border?
  16. What is the difference between villi and microvilli?
  17. Why isn't the pancreas digested by its own enzymes?
  18. What is gastrin?  What does it do?  What cells produce it?
  19. What are goblet cells?  What are mucous cells?
  20. What is enteropeptidase?  What does it do?  Where is it located?
  21. What keeps the gastric acid from eating the walls of the stomach?
  22. What does cholecystokinin do?  What does the root "chole-" refer to?  What does the root "cyst-" refer to?
  23. What are bile salts and what do they help absorb?
  24. What are lacteals?
  25. What is the hepatic portal system?
  26. In regards to the liver, what is meant by conjugation?  (Do not confuse this with conjugation learned in organic chemistry)
  27. What gives feces its color?  What gives urine its color?
  28. What does the gall bladder do?  What causes it to contract?
  29. Enzymes excreted from the pancreas enter the GI tract where?
  30. What is a carboxypeptidase?  What is an aminopeptidase?
  31. How are fats digested?  How are they absorbed?
  32. How are proteins digested?  How are they absorbed?
  33. What is the difference between bile salts and bile pigments?  Which is bilirubin? Which form of bilirubin is more water soluble, conjugated or unconjugated?
  34. What do you call the system of veins that leads digested food to the liver?
  35. What purpose does saliva serve?  What enzymes are found in saliva?
  36. What does the epiglottis do?
  37. What type of digestion occurs within the stomach?  Why is a low pH needed?
  38. Where is bile stored?  Where is bile produced?
  39. What organ other than the pancreas plays a major role in blood-glucose regulation?
  40. Where does the majority of nutrient absorption take place?
  41. How is stomach acid neutralized in the intestines?
  42. What organ is a major storage site for vitamins?
  43. What part of the GI tract has as its major function the absorption of water?
  44. What part of the large intestines is ascending?  What part is transverse?
  45. What purpose does the rectum serve?


Urinary System


  1. What do the kidneys excrete?
  2. How do the kidneys help regulate pH?  How do they help regulate salt output?
  3. What is the functional unit of the kidney?
  4. What is the difference between the terms GLOMERULUS and BOWMAN'S CAPSULE?
  5. What components of blood are not filtered at the glomerulus and thus remain in the blood?  Are proteins filtered?  Are carbohydrates filtered?  Minerals?
  6. How is glucose transported from the filtrate back into the blood?  Under what conditions is glucose found in the urine?
  7. What is the difference between urea and uric acid?  What do humans primarily excrete?  Can the other substance be found in humans?
  8. What's the difference between the terms URINE and UREA?
  9. What does ADH act on?  How does the kidney respond?  How does this affect blood pressure?
  10. What is the osmolarity of the renal medulla compared to nephron filtrate?
  11. What is a countercurrent multiplier?
  12. What is the difference between "ureter" and "urethra"?  Which portion of the population shares a common genito-urinary tract?
  13. How does the body regulate the size of particles filtered at the glomeruli?
  14. What is the GFR?  How does the body regulate the GFR?  How is the GFR affected by overall blood pressure?
  15. What do diuretics do?  For what are they used clinically?  Where do loop diuretics work?
  16. What is hypertension?  How are ACE inhibitors used to help treat hypertension?
  17. What does erythropoietin do?  Are its effects immediate?
  18. What is proteinuria?  What is its significance?
  19. What type of epithelial cell lines the bladder?  Does the body ever reabsorb nutrients from the urine in the bladder?  Does the body ever reabsorb water from the bladder?
  20. What is cystitis?  What is a UTI?  What is the likely reason that women are more prone to UTIs than men?
  21. What does the root "pyelo-" refer to, in general?  What does it refer to in the kidney?
  22. What is the difference between the roots "pyelo-", "pyro-", and "pyo-"?
  23. What are the effects of aldosterone on mineral concentrations in the body?  How does this affect blood pressure?
  24. What are the elements that are alternately known as natrium and kalium?  How are these elements abbreviated?  What is hypernatremia?  What is hyperkalemia?  How does it differ from hypercalcemia?
  25. What type of people need dialysis?  What builds up in the blood with out it?
  26. What are the renal pyramids?  What is the renal pelvis?
  27. What occurs in the proximal tubule?
  28. What is meant by "renal secretion"?
  29. Are solutes reabsorbed from the nephron after having been filtered?
  30. How does the body regulate urine concentration?  Why does it do this?




Musculoskeletal System


  1. What minerals are in bones?
  2. What are osteoblasts?  What are osteoclasts?  What are osteocytes?  Where specifically are each found?
  3. What is the difference between "epiphysis" and "diaphysis"? 
  4. What are long bones?  What are flat bones?
  5. What are trabeculae?  What is spongy bone?
  6. What is yellow marrow found?  Where is red marrow found?
  7. What is the difference between the the roots "myelo-" and "myo-"?
  8. What does the root "chondr" refer to?
  9. Do bones have cells in them?
  10. What are growth plates?  What happens to the growth plates?
  11. What is osteoporosis?  Who is the most vulnerable to osteoporosis?  What drug/hormone can help prevent osteoporosis?
  12. Who usually has a greater bone density, men or women?
  13. What are osteons?  What is being referred to by the term "Haversian"?
  14. What are reticulocytes?  What are stem cells?
  15. What is the difference between the terms "totipotent" and "pluripotent"?
  16. Where are T-lymphocytes produced?  Where do they mature?
  17. Where are B-lymphocytes produced?  Where do they mature?
  18. What muscle cell structures have been renamed with the prefix "sarco-"?
  19. Which type(s) of muscle cells are multinucleated?
  20. Which type(s) of muscle cells are striated?
  21. Which type(s) of muscle cells communicate via gap junctions?
  22. Does the diameter created by circular muscles get bigger or smaller upon contraction?  What about a radial muscle?
  23. Where are the papillary muscles?  Where is the pupillary sphincter?  Where are the ciliary muscles?
  24. What are the contractile units in skeletal muscle called?
  25. Where in skeletal muscle is calcium sequestered?
  26. What are the different regions of a sarcomere?  What does the "I" band do?  "A" band? "M" line? "Z" line? "H" zone?
  27. What is the sliding filament model of muscle contraction? 
  28. What are T-tubules?
  29. What is a neuromuscular junction?  What is a motor end plate? What neurotransmitter is involved?
  30. What type of tissue is the chief component of a steak?  What does cooking do to a steak?
  31. What is muscle tone?  What purpose does it serve?  What part of the brain is responsible for it?
  32. What is an isometric contraction?  What is an isotonic contraction?  Trying unsuccessfully to lift a heavy weight is which type?  At what point in weight lifting does isometric give way to isotonic contractions?
  33. What is TETANUS the disease?  What is another meaning of the word TETANUS?  What is TETANY?
  34. What are the carpals?  What are the tarsals?  What about metacarpals and metatarsals?
  35. What are the different bones of the skull?  What are the underlying lobes?
  36. What are fibroblasts?
  37. What is the difference between tendons and ligaments?
  38. What does "synovial" refer to?
  39. What part of the body has tendons that connect to the skin?
  40. What does the term APONEUROSIS refer to?
  41. Where are the ball-and-socket joints?  What other types of joints are there?  What type is the elbow?
  42. How does PTH affect the bones?
  43. What are the pleural membranes?  What is the peritoneum?  What is the pericardium?
  44. What is the difference between PERITONEUM and PERIOSTEUM?
  45. What is collagen?
  46. What is meant by  red muscle fibers?  What are white muscle fibers?  Which are more likely to use oxidative metabolism?  Which are more likely to use anaerobic metabolism?  Which are faster?  Which have more mitochondria?
  47. What determines whether muscle fibers are fast-twitch or slow-twitch?
  48. What is the difference between troponin and tropomyosin?
  49. What is the difference between troponin and calmodulin?
  50. What effect does hyperkalemia have on the body? hypokalemia?
  51. Why is calcium important to muscle cells?  What immediate effect does calcium influx have on each type?
  52. Which is the quickest to contract : skeletal muscle or smooth muscle?  Why?
  53. What is the difference between loose and dense cartilage?  Where are each found?
  54. How do muscles assist in regulation of body temperature?
  55. How might (non-heart) muscles help in circulation?
  56. What is a major reservoir for calcium in the body?
  57. What is the difference between an ENDOSKELETON and an EXOSKELETON?  Which do mammals have?
  58. How are bones remodelled?  What role do hormones play in this?





Immune System


  1. What is the difference between innate and acquired immunity?
  2. What are granulocytes?  Which type stains with a basic dye?  acidic dye? neutral dye?
  3. What is the most common type of leukocyte?  To which type of immunity do they contribute : innate or acquired?
  4. What is the thymus?  Where is it located?  Why is it important?
  5. What does the lymphatic system do?  What is lymph?  Where does it come from?  Where does it reenter the blood stream?  Do lymph vessels have valves?
  6. What are lymph nodes?  About how many are in the body?
  7. Why is the spleen important to immunity?  Why is bone marrow important? 
  8. What is MALT?  What is GALT?
  9. What are lymphocytes?  Where are they produced?  Where do they mature?
  10. What are mast cells?  What is released upon mast cell degranulation?
  11. What are antibodies?  What type of biomolecule are they?  What are the Fab regions?  What is the Fc region?
  12. Are antibodies produced by a single cell identical in specificity?
  13. What is the ABO blood type system?  What happens when incompatible blood types mix?
  14. Does someone with type A blood have A antigens? A antibodies?  B antigens?  B antibodies?
  15. Does someone with type O blood have A antigens? A antibodies?  B antigens?  B antibodies?
  16. Does someone with type AB blood have A antigens? A antibodies?  B antigens?  B antibodies?
  17. Does blood that is to be transfused into someone else contain a significant number of antibodies?
  18. What blood type is the universal donor?  Universal recipient?
  19. What is meant by POSITIVE or NEGATIVE following the ABO blood type designation?
  20. Does an O+ person have Rh antigens?  Rh antibodies?
  21. Does a first-time-pregnant Rh negative mother have Rh antigens?  Rh antibodies?  Why might this change during the first pregnancy?  How might this change be prevented?
  22. What is the difference between MHC Class I and MHC Class II molecules?  On what types of cells are each found?
  23. What type of molecule is CD8?  CD4?  What types of cells are these found on?  What MHC type molecules are each associated with?
  24. What is the difference between CD4/CD8 molecules and T-cell receptors?
  25. What is the distinction between a primary immune response and a secondary immune response?  How long might a secondary response take to develop?
  26. What type of cell produces antibodies?  What is the precursor to this cell?
  27. What is a phagocyte?  What is an example of a phagocyte?
  28. Basophils are similar to what type of molecule?
  29. What is a monocyte?  What is a macrophage?  What is the difference between the two?
  30. What is an antibody isotype?  What are five common isotypes?  Which one is associated with secretions?  Associated with allergies?  Which one is the most prevalent in the blood?
  31. What are the four types of hypersensitivities?  What is serum sickness?  What is delayed-type hypersensitivity?
  32. What is the effect of histamine on capillaries?
  33. Can viruses have DNA? RNA? both? single stranded DNA? double stranded DNA? single stranded RNA? double stranded RNA?
  34. How do viruses enter a host cell?  Why must they replicate inside a host?  Why not outside of cells?
  35. What is the viral capsid?  What is the viral envelope? From where does the envelope come?  What is a "naked" virus? 
  36. What is the difference between "lytic" and "lysogenic"?
  37. What is a retrovirus?  What is reverse transcriptase?
  38. Are viruses specific for a type of host?  for a type of cell?
  39. What type of virus enters the eukaryotic nucleus and integrates into host cell DNA?
  40. Can viruses cause or contribute to cancer?  How?
  41. What type of cell does HIV infect?
  42. What are T-helper cells?  What are cytotoxic T lymphocytes?  Where are they created?  Where do they mature?
  43. What are natural killer cells?  Are they innate or adaptive immunity?
  44. What are B-lympocytes?  What are plasma cells?  Where are B-lymphocytes produced?  Where do they mature?
  45. How does the immune system handle virus-infected cells?  How do these cells alert the immune system to the virus?
  46. What is opsonization?
  47. In what ways can antibodies help clear the body of foreign invaders?
  48. What is an autoimmune disease?  What can cause them?
  49. What is the complement system?  What is the membrane attack complex?
  50. How does the immune system help protect against cancer caused by random mutations?
  51. What are helminths?
  52. What type of organism is the yeast of a yeast infection?
  53. What type of organism causes of malaria?
  54. What is a vector?  What is an arthropod?  Can an arthropod serve as a vector?
  55. What is the difference between colonization and infection?
  56. What is a superantigen?  How does it activate lymphocytes differently?
  57. What is a hapten?  What is a carrier?
  58. What is an adjuvant?  Why are they used?
  59. What is the difference between an antigen and an immunogen?   
  60. What is the difference between active immunizations and passive immunization?  What is antiserum?
  61. What is a zoonosis?  What is an example?
  62. What is bacteremia?  What is viremia? 
  63. What is sterile meningitis?  Why is it called "STERILE"?
  64. What is the major histocompatibility complex?  What is this specifically called in humans?
  65. What is a graft?  Why do graft recipients "attack" the graft?  How is this different from "Graft Vs. Host"?  How might Graft versus Host be caused?  What is bad about it?  What benefits could come from it?
  66. What are stem cells?  What type of patient might need foreign stem cells?  What must happen to the recipient's stem cells before receiving the transfusion?
  67. What is the difference between antineoplastic chemotherapy and antimicrobic chemotherapy?  Which one is more likely to make the patient sicker?  Why?
  68. What might a low white blood cell count indicate?  What might a high blood cell count indicate?
  69. What causes a fever?  Where does the "heat" of a fever come from?
  70. What role does the skin play in immunity?  What is a major source of morbidity in burn patients?


Reproductive System and Embryogenesis


  1. What are gonads?
  2. To what biochemical class do sex hormones  belong?
  3. What are androgens?  What are estrogens?  What are examples of each?
  4. Where is semen produced?  Where are sperm produced?
  5. What is a spermatid?
  6. What are ovaries?  What are oocytes?  What are oogonia?
  7. What cells produce testosterone in males?
  8. What does LH do in females?  What does it do in males?
  9. What does FSH do in females?  What does it do in males?
  10. Where is GnRH released?  Where are LH and FSH released?  Where in a female is estradiol released?  Progesterone?  hCG?
  11. What are the stages in the menstrual cycle?  When does ovulation occur?  What triggers ovulation?
  12. How does egg production in women compare to sperm production in men?  At what part(s) of life does each happen?
  13. What effects does LH have on the release of sex hormones?  What effects do sex hormones normally have on the release of LH and FSH?  When does estrogen no longer inhibit the release of LH and FSH?
  14. What is a follicle?  What is a Graafian follicle? What is the corpus luteum?
  15. Fertilization of the egg normally occurs where (in humans)?
  16. How many separate placentas are involved in the fetal development of fraternal twins?  Can identical twins share one placenta?  Can identical twins each have his/her own placenta?
  17. What is a morula?
  18. What is blastocyst?  What is a blastocoel?  What is a blastula?
  19. What in embryogenesis is meant by "cleavage"?  What happens to the size of the cells?
  20. What is meroblastic cleavage?  Holoblastic cleavage?
  21. What is meant by macrolecithal?  microlecithal? 
  22. What in embryogenesis is meant by gastrulation?
  23. What is Hensen's node?  What organisms follow this pattern of development?
  24. What is the difference between protostomes and deuterostomes?  Which do mammals belong to?
  25. What is the significance of the dorsal blastopore lip?  What organisms is this associated with?
  26. What is the yolk sac?  Do humans have yolk?  What exactly is yolk?
  27. From what layers are the following derived: nervous system, skin, heart, liver, kidneys, lining of GI tract, muscle?
  28. What in embryogenesis is meant by "induction"?  How does this influence cell type?  Is this an internal or external factor?
  29. What is the difference between determination and differentiation?
  30. What is the notochord?  What is its purpose?  What type of organisms are associated with notochords?
  31. What is the neural tube?  What is neuralation? When does it occur?
  32. What are primary sexual characteristics?  Secondary?  Which arises from within (i.e. genes) and which is hormonally induced?  Are the external genitalia primary or secondary?  gonads?
  33. What is the difference between somatic and germ-line cells?  Which are gonads?  Which are spermatogonia and oogonia?  A mutation that causes hemophilia is likely to have arisen from which? 
  34. What homology exists between male and female genitalia?
  35. What percentage of nuclear DNA does a sperm contribute to a new zygote?  What does a sperm contribute to cytoplasmic inheritance?
  36. Where does a fertilized egg implant?  How long after fertilization does this occur?
  37. What surrounds a human egg?  How are other sperm prevented from entering the egg once fertilization has occurred?
  38. What is the difference between spermatogenesis and spermiogenesis?
  39. What are primary spermatocytes?  How many chromosomes do they have (in humans)?  What are secondary spermatocytes?
  40. What cells are also known as nurse cells?  What about interstitial cells?  Where are each found?
  41. What is meant by "fast block"?  What about "slow block"?  What is the cortical reaction?