Negative Feedback Loop

Deedhiti Patel, Meredith Mikell
  • Author
    Deedhiti Patel

    My name is Dee Patel and I am a current dental student in my third year! I graduated from the University of Massachusetts in 2018 with my degree in Biology. There, I also worked as a biology tutor and teachers assistant for freshman biology.

  • Instructor
    Meredith Mikell

    Meredith holds a B.S. in marine science with a minor in philosophy, as well as a master's of aeronautical science with a space science emphasis. She has taught subjects including marine science, biology, astronomy, math, and reading to students from kindergarten through high school.

In this lesson, learn the negative feedback loop definition. Understand the biology of the negative feedback mechanism through negative feedback examples. Updated: 07/25/2021

Table of Contents


What Is Negative Feedback?

A negative feedback loop is a biological process that occurs within our bodies that causes a decrease in the function of that pathway. A negative feedback loop is in place to ensure that the body has an off switch. This mechanism allows the body to make enough of wh

This diagram demonstrates a negative feedback loop. X leads to the product or activation of P1 which therefore leads to the product Y. When there is enough Y produced, P2 goes back and inhibits the production of P1, which will therefore decrease the synthesis of product Y, which is known as a negative feedback loop.

Negative Feedback Loop

Essentially, how the mechanism works is that there is a signal that causes the pathway to be turned on. The pathway goes through the steps necessary to create an end product. When enough of that end product is made, either the end product or the effect the end product has on the body acts as an off switch to shut off the pathway. This allows the body to return to normal and restore homeostasis.

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  • 0:00 What is Negative Feedback?
  • 0:50 Steps of Feedback Loops
  • 1:55 Feedback in Living Things
  • 2:45 Examples of Feedback Loops
  • 3:50 Lesson Summary
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Negative Feedback Examples

An example of a negative feedback loop is our internal body temperature. Our internal body temperature is regulated through our hypothalamus, which serves as the connection between the internal and external environment essentially. When an individual's body temperature decreases, there is a signal sent to the hypothalamus to induce shivering, which will increase the body temperature. When the body temperature is restored to normal, there is a negative feedback signal sent that will then stop the act of shivering because it is no longer necessary to increase body temperature. This same mechanism works when the internal body temperature is too high, such as when someone has a fever. The hypothalamus instructs the body to start sweating, which releases body heat. This release of body heat continues until the internal body temperature is bought back to normal, at which point the body is given the signal to stop sweating.

Another example of a negative feedback loop within the body is in regards to blood pressure. Blood pressure is detected by baroreceptors in blood vessels. When blood pressure drops, the baroreceptors send a signal to the brain, sympathetic nerves are stimulated, heart rate is increased, and in turn, blood pressure increases. The kidneys are also involved as they will retain more water to also increase blood pressure. This is done by the hormone aldosterone which causes sodium to flow back into the body and water follows sodium. After the increase in blood pressure, the negative feedback loop is responsible for stopping the continuous increase in blood pressure, and aldosterone is no longer secreted so sodium and water are back to be excreted from the body.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is negative feedback mechanism in homeostasis?

Negative feedback mechanism in the body is essential to maintain homeostasis. When any levels in the body fall out of the normal range, a feedback loop is used to bring the levels back to normal.

What is a negative feedback loop in the human body?

An example of a negative feedback loop within the body is the regulation of blood pressure. When blood pressure falls out of normal limits, depending on the situation, either the sympathetic or parasympathetic nerves are stimulated and the kidneys either excrete more water or retain more water in an effort to bring the blood pressure back to normal.

What is an example of a negative feedback loop in the environment?

An example of a negative feedback loop in the environment is weather temperature. When temperature on the group increases, in order to prevent more sunlight and an even greater increase in temperature, clouds come out and cover the sky.

Which is an example of the body maintaining homeostasis using a negative feedback loop?

An example of the body maintaining homeostasis is when internal body temperature decreases. When this happens, the hypothalamus sends a signal to the body to start shivering which is a way to increase internal body temperature. Once internal body temperature has been restored back to normal, the shivering will stop.

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