internal environment

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internal environment The conditions that prevail within the body of an organism, particularly with respect to the composition of the tissue fluid. The concept of an internal environment was first proposed by the French physiologist Claude Bernard (1813–78), who stated that maintenance of a constant internal environment was necessary for the survival of an organism in a varying external environment. Selective absorption of materials across cell membranes plays a large part in controlling the internal environment of both animals and plants. Animals in addition can regulate their body fluids by the action of hormones and the nervous system. See homeostasis.