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Homeostasis ( ancient Greek ὁμοιοστάσις homoiostásis , German 'equality' ) is a state of equilibrium and describes a state of equilibrium of an open dynamic system that is maintained by an internal regulating process. It is therefore a special case of the self-regulation of systems. The term is used in numerous disciplines such as physics , chemistry , biology , ecology , economics , sociology , psychology , medicine or law . A system in homeostasis is a homeostat .


The concept of homeostasis was described by the physiologist Claude Bernard around 1860 and the term and its name were coined in 1929 and 1932 by Walter Cannon and Karl Ludwig von Bertalanffy .


Regulation (biology)
Cellular Hom.
Multicellular (organ.) Hom.
Chemical Hom.
Anatomical hom.
Hom. the number of cells
regulation of the surface tension
Gene Ontology

Biology knows many states of equilibrium, which are maintained by special homeostatic processes. The equilibrium can be maintained within a cell, an organ or via an organism. The property to be obtained can be anatomical, chemical, physical or mathematical (number of cells). In physiology , the concept of homeostasis is defined as the maintenance of an internal milieu (target state) that comes about through regulation . An example of this is the homeostasis of the brain , which is maintained by the blood-brain barrier .

Social sciences

In the case of social systems, Niklas Luhmann , Francisco Varela and Humberto R. Maturana have advocated replacing the term homeostasis with the term homeodynamics , since stasis would denote a standstill and thus the death of a (self-regulating) system.


Clinical homeostasis is used in connection with hormone production.

See also


Web links

Wiktionary: Homeostasis  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Hans Joachim Flechtner : Basic concepts of cybernetics. Hirzel, 1972.
  2. Cornelius Borck: The wisdom of homeostasis and the freedom of the body. Walter B. Cannon's integrated theory of the organism. In: Zeithistorische Forschungen / Studies in Contemporary History. Volume 11, No. 3, 2014, pp. 472-477, doi: 10.14765 / zzf.dok-1469 .
  3. QuickGO: GO: 0042592 homeostatic process
  4. Harrisons: Internal Medicine. 18th edition, p. 3113.