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Vasoconstriction

by Greg Crowther


Context

This is a brief tribute to the maintenance of blood pressure -- as sensed by baroreceptors -- via constriction of blood vessels (especially the arterioles). This is part of the "fight-or-flight" response of the sympathetic nervous system, in which blood flow to the digestive organs and kidneys is diverted to exercising muscles.


Lyrics

The autonomic nervous system
Is sympathetic to your plight.
Signals like norepinephrine
Squeeze the vessel walls so tight!

Catecholamine receptors --
Adrenergic, alpha-one --
Cause contraction of smooth muscle
Via release of calcium.

Vaso ... vasoconstriction.
Myo ... smooth muscle wrapped around.
Baro ... baroreceptors,
Keeping blood pressure up so you don't fall down down down!


Other Files

sheet music (with melody play-back)


Lesson Plan

Songs like this one can be used during class meetings and/or in homework assignments. Either way, the song will be most impactful if students DO something with it, as opposed to just listening.

An initial, simple follow-up activity could be to answer the study questions below. A more extensive interaction with the song might entail (A) learning to sing it, using the audio file and/or sheet music as a guide, or (B) designing kinesthetic movements ("dance moves") to embody it. The latter activity should begin with students identifying the most important or most challenging content of the song, and deciding how to illustrate that particular content.


Study Questions

(1) The first sentence of this song includes a pun. Explain the pun.

(2) What is another word for norepinephrine? It is a neurotransmitter but is also produced by a gland -- which one?

(3) What are catecholamines? What are alpha-one adrenergic receptors?

(4) Why does calcium release cause smooth muscle contraction?

(5) What is the meaning of the prefixes/roots "vaso," "myo," and "baro"?

(6) What is meant by the final line of the song?

(Answers may be found on the answers page.)