We review the different parts of the human body that make it functional.
Our body is not a homogeneous and uniform mass. We are complex organisms, being made up of a large number of different types of cells, tissues, organs and systems that in their totality allow to a greater or lesser extent our survival and adaptation to the environment.
The organs of the human body are a fundamental part of this set, existing a great variety of them throughout the human body. In this article we are going to briefly review just that, the main organs of the human body.
Reviewing the concept: what is an organ?
Although it is something that most of the people already know, it is convenient to make a brief mention of what we consider to be an organ since there can often be confusion between that concept and that of tissue.
We consider as an organ any set of associated organic tissues that make up a structured and organized whole as a unit, being able by itself to perform one (or several) specific functions within the body. Generally, organs are associated with each other forming different systems, which together regulate the different processes linked to specific physiological and behavioral functions.
Although practically all organs have their function, the truth is that not all of them are fundamental for our survival, with some that are more relevant than others and even organs without which it is possible to live. Likewise, we also have some elements inherited from our ancestors whose role is merely vestigial.
Main organs of the human body
There is a huge number of different organs distributed throughout our body. Although technically more than eighty different organs can be found and classified in the human body, in this article we are going to focus on some of the most fundamental and recognizable as such.
The so-called king organ, the brain is the nucleus of the nervous system and is in charge of managing the set of bodily functions through the sending of nerve signals that govern the rest of the organs and systems. Its performance allows life (in fact, brain death is considered real death) and the performance of any type of behavior. Perception and movement, as well as intellectual abilities, are produced by their performance and correct functioning. It is made up of neurons and glial tissues.
Organ made up of muscle tissue and the core of the cardiovascular system, the heart’s main function is to pump blood throughout the body. Thanks to its action, we can carry oxygen and nutrients to the rest of the organs and body systems, allowing their survival.
The lungs are another of the main organs of the body, and in this case they are the main element of the respiratory system. They are two large organs that occupy a large part of the thorax and whose main function is to obtain oxygen from the environment to allow cellular respiration while eliminating carbon dioxide and other waste generated by the functioning of the body. These elements are carried from the lungs to the rest of the body or from the organs to the lungs through the blood.
The so-called second brain is another of the organs that allow our survival. It is the organ in charge of diluting the food we eat thanks to the acids present in it and those sent by various vesicles and other organs of the system. Thanks to its action we can digest food and subsequently absorb its nutrients
An important organ of the human body and part of the digestive system, its action allows us to metabolize nutrients and the different substances that we consume. It is also essential when it comes to eliminating and purging elements interpreted as harmful to the body.
Another of the most important organs of the body, the pancreas is part of the digestive and endocrine systems. Different enzymes and hormones are secreted in it that allow the management and regulation of different elements, such as the glycemic level through the insulin secreted by the islets of Langerhans, or glucagon or ghrelin.
7. Intestines (thick and thin)
The large and small intestines are a major part of the digestive tract, as well as the longest. Its importance is capital, since when the food previously digested in the stomach passes through them, they are responsible for absorbing the nutrients, in such a way that it allows our survival.
A fundamental element of the body, these organs allow the purification and filtering of the blood in such a way that toxins and waste generated by the body’s functioning can be eliminated through the excretory system. In addition, it allows the reabsorption of blood to be sent back through the circulatory system and acts as an important element in body homeostasis and the regulation of blood pressure.
This organ (although some authors consider it only a gland) is part of the immune system and is of great importance for our survival. And it is that in the thymus we can find the organ in which the T lymphocytes, white blood cells fundamental for the defense of the organism against bacterial aggressions and toxic external substances and that are generated in the spinal cord, mature and differentiate.
Although in the past it was believed that the spleen was an organ without function or even vestigial, the truth is that although it is possible to live without it, it does have relevant functions for our health. In fact, it is considered part of the lymphatic system and the largest organ in that system.
To begin with, the spleen fulfills the important function of serving as a store of blood, which allows us to maintain adequate and constant levels of this element circulating through our body. But it does not limit its function to being a mere warehouse: it is also part of the lymphatic and immune systems, acting as a filter and contributing to the synthesis of antibodies. It also contributes to destroying damaged red blood cells and to the balance of fluids in the body. Finally, this organ is characterized by having hematopoietic cells, immature stem cells that can end up generating different types of cells depending on the need.
An important part of the body is the bladder, an organ in the form of a small sac that stores urine, a product of filtering made by the kidneys, and which will later allow expulsion through the urethra.
The sensory organs are also very relevant for our survival, since they allow us to detect what is happening outside. The eyes are one of the most important sensory organs, allowing us to perceive images through the capture of light stimuli, these images being subsequently processed by the brain.
13. The ear
The ear is a sensory structure that allows us to capture the information coming from the vibration of the waves, being able to capture sounds thanks to it. However, it is a structure made up of multiple elements. One of the most relevant is the organ of Corti, this being the authentic one responsible for capturing auditory stimuli.
Identified as the main olfactory organ, the elements that are part of the nose allow the detection and identification of odors. In addition, it is through the nostrils that most people (although some breathe through the mouth) introduce oxygen from outside into our body and excrete the carbon dioxide produced in the breath. It acts as a filter for microorganisms and heats the air that enters the body. Special mention should be made of the vomeronasal or Jacobson’s organ, linked to the perception of pheromones.
Organ formed by muscle tissue that is essential for multiple functions such as feeding ourselves or communicating orally. In it we can find the taste buds, which allow us to capture the flavors of different foods or substances that come into contact with our mouth.
The penis is one of the main existing male sexual organs. It is an erectile element that allows copulation by filling their corpora cavernosa with blood and the transmission of semen to the outside. In addition, unlike in women, it also allows the expulsion of urine through the same organ.
Part of the reproductive and endocrine system, these are two structures that generate and store sex hormones such as testosterone and male reproductive cells, sperm.
Organ in the form of a gland that is part of the male reproductive system and whose main function is to secrete substances that allow the survival and protection of sperm, being essential in the production of semen.
Female sexual organ that enjoys the privilege of being the point of the organism with the highest number of nerve endings in the human body. Its only known function at the moment is to provide pleasure during sexual intercourse or with its stimulation through other means. Interestingly, the penis and the clitoris arise throughout development from the same structure, and both can be erected.
Located above the fallopian tubes, the ovaries are female sex organs that are also part of the endocrine system. It is about the structures in which eggs are produced and developed, as well as one of the main producers of estrogens and progesterone in women.
An organ formed mainly by muscle and endothelial tissue, it is the part of the female body that houses the future baby while it is gestating and in which it is provided with food and oxygen through the blood vessels.
One of the most externally visible organs, the skin is the layer of tissue that covers our body and separates us from external stimulation, being a protective element. In addition, it protects us against dehydration and participates in the regulation of body temperature and the excretion (through the sweat glands present in it) of toxins. It is an adaptable and flexible organ of great importance for our survival, and yet it is not usually paid the same attention as other large organs.
Our bones can be considered an organ, whose main function is the protection of the main organs (brain, heart and lungs) and the maintenance of a body structure that allows our basic functionality. In addition, they are linked to the creation of blood cells and autoimmunity, as well as the storage and homeostatic system of substances such as calcium and fats (in the yellow marrow).
Our musculature could also be identified as an organ. Its main function is to allow movement, both voluntary and involuntary (for example, respiratory or digestion itself), by contracting and dilating.
These small elements present in the mouth could also be considered an organ, being able to have different functions. The main and most obvious is the chewing and preparation of solid food to be transported through the digestive tract and ensure that the nutrients are absorbed. They can also serve as a defensive element against external aggressions, such as that of a predator or a member of our own species. They also participate together with the rest of the buccophonatory organs in communication.
… And many more
As we have said, there are around eighty organs that make up our body, of which we have only exposed some of the most important. The esophagus, the urethra, glands such as the thyroid … depending on where we set the limits we will find more or less identifiable structures as organs. Much remains to be investigated.
It can be thought that today we know a lot about the body. However, there is still a lot of misinformation about how our body acts, limiting the available knowledge about different bodily functions and processes to multiple more or less accepted theories.
And even today many advances and discoveries continue to be made. For example, relatively recently the existence of what was considered one more organ was discovered: the mesentery. This organ is part of the digestive tract, being a fold of the peritoneum that makes the intestines remain in place, joining it to the posterior abdominal wall (although its functions beyond this still need to be analyzed further). In conclusion, there are many organs and much greater research that can be done on the functioning of our body, something that is still largely unknown to us.