Most cells, with the exception of blood and metastatic cancer cells, must be anchored to each other and to the matrix if they are to grow and divide normally. The connections between one cell and another are called intercellular junctions. These attachments enable the cells to resist stress and communicate with each other. Without them, cardiac muscle cells would pull apart when they contracted, and every swallow of food would scrape away the lining of your esophagus. The principal types of intercellular junctions are shown in figure 5.29.
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This ebook provides an introductory explanation of the workings of the human body, with an effort to draw connections between the body systems and explain their interdependencies. A framework for the book is homeostasis and how the body maintains balance within each system. This is intended as a first introduction to physiology for a college-level course.