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The endocrine system includes all of the glands of the body and the hormones produced by those glands.

The glands are controlled directly by stimulation from the nervous system as well as by chemical receptors in the blood and hormones produced by other glands. By regulating the functions of organs in the body, these glands help to maintain the bodys homeostasis. Cellular metabolism, reproduction, sexual development, sugar and mineral homeostasis, heart rate, and digestion are among... [Continued from above] . . . the many processes regulated by the actions of hormones. Anatomy of the Endocrine System Hypothalamus The hypothalamus is a part of the brain located superior and anterior to the brain stem and inferior to the thalamus. It serves many different functions in the nervous system, and is also responsible for the direct control of the endocrine system through the pituitary gland. The hypothalamus contains special cells called neurosecretory cellsneurons that secrete hormones: Thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) Growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH) Growth hormone-inhibiting hormone (GHIH) Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) Corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) Oxytocin Antidiuretic hormone (ADH) All of the releasing and inhibiting hormones affect the function of the anterior pituitary gland. TRH stimulates the anterior pituitary gland to release thyroid-stimulating hormone. GHRH and GHIH work to regulate the release of growth hormoneGHRH stimulates growth hormone release, GHIH inhibits its release. GnRH stimulates the release of follicle stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone while CRH stimulates the release of adrenocorticotropic hormone. The last two hormonesoxytocin and antidiuretic hormoneare produced by the hypothalamus and transported to the posterior pituitary, where they are stored and later released. Pituitary Gland The pituitary gland, also known as the hypophysis, is a small pea-sized lump of tissue connected to the inferior portion of the hypothalamus of the brain. Many blood vessels surround the pituitary gland to carry the hormones it releases throughout the body. Situated in a small depression in the sphenoid bone called the sella turcica, the pituitary gland is actually made of 2 completely separate structures: the posterior and anterior pituitary glands. Posterior Pituitary: The posterior pituitary gland is actually not glandular tissue at all, but nervous tissue instead. The posterior pituitary is a small extension of the hypothalamus through which the axons of some of the neurosecretory cells of the hypothalamus extend. These neurosecretory cells create 2 hormones in the hypothalamus that are stored and released by the posterior pituitary:


Oxytocin triggers uterine contractions during childbirth and the release of milk during breastfeeding. Antidiuretic hormone (ADH) prevents water loss in the body by increasing the re-uptake of water in the kidneys and reducing blood flow to sweat glands.

2. Anterior Pituitary: The anterior pituitary gland is the true glandular part of the pituitary gland. The function of the anterior pituitary gland is controlled by the releasing and inhibiting hormones of the hypothalamus. The anterior pituitary produces 6 important hormones:

Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), as its name suggests, is a tropic hormone responsible for the stimulation of the thyroid gland.

Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) stimulates the adrenal cortex, the outer part of the adrenal gland, to produce its hormones. Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) stimulates the follicle cells of the gonads to produce gametesova in females and sperm in males. Luteinizing hormone (LH) stimulates the gonads to produce the sex hormonesestrogens in females and testosterone in males. Human growth hormone (HGH) affects many target cells throughout the body by stimulating their growth, repair, and reproduction. Prolactin (PRL) has many effects on the body, chief of which is that it stimulates the mammary glands of the breast to produce milk. Pineal Gland The pineal gland is a small pinecone-shaped mass of glandular tissue found just posterior to the thalamus of the brain. The pineal gland produces the hormone melatonin that helps to regulate the human sleep-wake cycle known as the circadian rhythm. The activity of the pineal gland is inhibited by stimulation from the photoreceptors of the retina. This light sensitivity causes melatonin to be produced only in low light or darkness. Increased melatonin production causes humans to feel drowsy at nighttime when the pineal gland is active. Thyroid Gland The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of the neck and wrapped around the lateral sides of the trachea. The thyroid gland produces 3 major hormones: Calcitonin Triiodothyronine (T3) Thyroxine (T4) Calcitonin is released when calcium ion levels in the blood rise above a certain set point. Calcitonin functions to reduce the concentration of calcium ions in the blood by aiding the absorption of calcium into the matrix of bones. The hormones T3 and T4 work together to regulate the bodys metabolic rate. Increased levels of T3 and T4 lead to increased cellular activity and energy usage in the body. Parathyroid Glands The parathyroid glands are 4 small masses of glandular tissue found on the posterior side of the thyroid gland. The parathyroid glands produce the hormone parathyroid hormone (PTH), which is involved in calcium ion homeostasis. PTH is released from the parathyroid glands when calcium ion levels in the blood drop below a set point. PTH stimulates the osteoclasts to break down the calcium containing bone matrix to release free calcium ions into the bloodstream. PTH also triggers the kidneys to return calcium ions filtered out of the blood back to the bloodstream so that it is conserved. Adrenal Glands The adrenal glands are a pair of roughly triangular glands found immediately superior to the kidneys. The adrenal glands are each made of 2 distinct layers, each with their own unique functions: the outer adrenal cortex and inner adrenal medulla. Adrenal cortex: The adrenal cortex produces many cortical hormones in 3 classes: glucocorticoids, mineralocorticoids, and androgens.


Glucocorticoids have many diverse functions, including the breakdown of proteins and lipids to produce glucose. Glucocorticoids also function to reduce inflammation and immune response.

2. Mineralocorticoids, as their name suggests, are a group of hormones that help to regulate the concentration of mineral ions in the body. 3. Androgens, such as testosterone, are produced at low levels in the adrenal cortex to regulate the growth and activity of cells that are receptive to male hormones. In adult males, the amount of androgens produced by the testes is many times greater than the amount produced by the adrenal cortex, leading to the appearance of male secondary sex characteristics.

Adrenal medulla: The adrenal medulla produces the hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine under stimulation by the sympathetic division of the autonomic nervous system. Both of these hormones help to increase the flow of blood to the brain and muscles to improve the fight-or-flight response to stress. These hormones also work to increase heart rate, breathing rate, and blood pressure while decreasing the flow of blood to and function of organs that are not involved in responding to emergencies. Pancreas The pancreas is a large gland located in the abdominal cavity just inferior and posterior to the stomach. The pancreas is considered to be a heterocrine gland as it contains both endocrine and exocrine tissue. The endocrine cells of the pancreas make up just about 1% of the total mass of the pancreas and are found in small groups throughout the pancreas called islets of Langerhans. Within these islets are 2 types of cellsalpha and beta cells. The alpha cells produce the hormone glucagon, which is responsible for raising blood glucose levels. Glucagon triggers muscle and liver cells to break down the polysaccharide glycogen to release glucose into the bloodstream. The beta cells produce the hormone insulin, which is responsible for lowering blood glucose levels after a meal. Insulin triggers the absorption of glucose from the blood into cells, where it is added to glycogen molecules for storage. Gonads The gonadsovaries in females and testes in malesare responsible for producing the sex hormones of the body. These sex hormones determine the secondary sex characteristics of adult females and adult males. Testes: The testes are a pair of ellipsoid organs found in the scrotum of males that produce the androgen testosterone in males after the start of puberty. Testosterone has effects on many parts of the body, including the muscles, bones, sex organs, and hair follicles. This hormone causes growth and increases in strength of the bones and muscles, including the accelerated growth of long bones during adolescence. During puberty, testosterone controls the growth and development of the sex organs and body hair of males, including pubic, chest, and facial hair. In men who have inherited genes for baldness testosterone triggers the onset of androgenic alopecia, commonly known as male pattern baldness. Ovaries: The ovaries are a pair of almond-shaped glands located in the pelvic body cavity lateral and superior to the uterus in females. The ovaries produce the female sex hormones progesterone and estrogens. Progesterone is most active in females during ovulation and pregnancy where it maintains appropriate conditions in the human body to support a developing fetus. Estrogens are a group of related hormones that function as the primary female sex hormones. The release of estrogen during puberty triggers the development of female secondary sex characteristics such as uterine development, breast development, and the growth of pubic hair. Estrogen also triggers the increased growth of bones during adolescence that lead to adult height and proportions. Thymus The thymus is a soft, triangular-shaped organ found in the chest posterior to the sternum. The thymus produces hormones called thymosins that help to train and develop T-lymphocytes during fetal development and childhood. The T-lymphocytes produced in the thymus go on to protect the body from pathogens throughout a persons entire life. The thymus becomes inactive during puberty and is slowly replaced by adipose tissue throughout a persons life. Other Hormone Producing Organs In addition to the glands of the endocrine system, many other non-glandular organs and tissues in the body produce hormones as well.

Heart: The cardiac muscle tissue of the heart is capable of producing the hormone atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) in response to high blood pressure levels. ANP works to reduce blood pressure by triggering vasodilation to provide more space for the blood to travel through. ANP also reduces blood volume and pressure by causing water and salt to be excreted out of the blood by the kidneys. Kidneys: The kidneys produce the hormone erythropoietin (EPO) in response to low levels of oxygen in the blood. EPO released by the kidneys travels to the red bone marrow where it stimulates an increased production of red blood cells. The number of red blood cells increases the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood, eventually ending the production of EPO. Digestive System: The hormones cholecystokinin (CCK), secretin, and gastrin are all produced by the organs of the gastrointestinal tract. CCK, secretin, and gastrin all help to regulate the secretion of pancreatic juice, bile, and gastric juice in response to the presence of food in the stomach. CCK is also instrumental in the sensation of satiety or fullness after eating a meal. Adipose: Adipose tissue produces the hormone leptin that is involved in the management of appetite and energy usage by the body. Leptin is produced at levels relative to the amount of adipose tissue in the body, allowing the brain to monitor the bodys energy storage condition. When the body contains a sufficient level of adipose for energy storage, the level of leptin in the blood tells the brain that the body is not starving and may work normally. If the level of adipose or leptin decreases below a certain threshold, the body enters starvation mode and attempts to conserve energy through increased hunger and food intake and decreased energy usage. Adipose tissue also produces very low levels of estrogens in both men and women. In obese people the large volume of adipose tissue may lead to abnormal estrogen levels. Placenta: In pregnant women, the placenta produces several hormones that help to maintain pregnancy. Progesterone is produced to relax the uterus, protect the fetus from the mothers immune system, and prevent premature delivery of the fetus. Human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) assists progesterone by signaling the ovaries to maintain the production of estrogen and progesterone throughout pregnancy. Local Hormones: Prostaglandins and leukotrienes are produced by every tissue in the body (except for blood tissue) in response to damaging stimuli. These two hormones mainly affect the cells that are local to the source of damage, leaving the rest of the body free to function normally.


Prostaglandins cause swelling, inflammation, increased pain sensitivity, and increased local body temperature to help block damaged regions of the body from infection or further damage. They act as the bodys natural bandages to keep pathogens out and swell around damaged joints like a natural cast to limit movement.

2. Leukotrienes help the body heal after prostaglandins have taken effect by reducing inflammation while helping white blood cells to move into the region to clean up pathogens and damaged tissues. Physiology of the Endocrine System Endocrine System vs. Nervous System Function The endocrine system works alongside of the nervous system to form the control systems of the body. The nervous system provides a very fast and narrowly targeted system to turn on specific glands and muscles throughout the body. The endocrine system, on the other hand, is much slower acting, but has very widespread, long lasting, and powerful effects. Hormones are distributed by glands through the bloodstream to the entire body, affecting any cell with a receptor for a particular hormone. Most hormones affect cells in several organs or throughout the entire body, leading to many diverse and powerful responses. Hormone Properties Once hormones have been produced by glands, they are distributed through the body via the bloodstream. As hormones travel through the body, they pass through cells or along the plasma membranes of cells until they

encounter a receptor for that particular hormone. Hormones can only affect target cells that have the appropriate receptors. This property of hormones is known as specificity. Hormone specificity explains how each hormone can have specific effects in widespread parts of the body. Many hormones produced by the endocrine system are classified as tropic hormones. A tropic hormone is a hormone that is able to trigger the release of another hormone in another gland. Tropic hormones provide a pathway of control for hormone production as well as a way for glands to be controlled in distant regions of the body. Many of the hormones produced by the pituitary gland, such as TSH, ACTH, and FSH are tropic hormones. Hormonal Regulation The levels of hormones in the body can be regulated by several factors. The nervous system can control hormone levels through the action of the hypothalamus and its releasing and inhibiting hormones. For example, TRH produced by the hypothalamus stimulates the anterior pituitary to produce TSH. Tropic hormones provide another level of control for the release of hormones. For example, TSH is a tropic hormone that stimulates the thyroid gland to produce T3 and T4. Nutrition can also control the levels of hormones in the body. For example, the thyroid hormones T3 and T4 require 3 or 4 iodine atoms, respectively, to be produced. In people lacking iodine in their diet, they will fail to produce sufficient levels of thyroid hormones to maintain a healthy metabolic rate. Finally, the number of receptors present in cells can be varied by cells in response to hormones. Cells that are exposed to high levels of hormones for extended periods of time can begin to reduce the number of receptors that they produce, leading to reduced hormonal control of the cell. Classes of Hormones Hormones are classified into 2 categories depending on their chemical make-up and solubility: water-soluble and lipid-soluble hormones. Each of these classes of hormones has specific mechanisms for their function that dictate how they affect their target cells. Water-soluble hormones: Water-soluble hormones include the peptide and amino-acid hormones such as insulin, epinephrine, HGH, and oxytocin. As their name indicates, these hormones are soluble in water. Water-soluble hormones are unable to pass through the phospholipid bilayer of the plasma membrane and are therefore dependent upon receptor molecules on the surface of cells. When a water-soluble hormone binds to a receptor molecule on the surface of a cell, it triggers a reaction inside of the cell. This reaction may change a factor inside of the cell such as the permeability of the membrane or the activation of another molecule. A common reaction is to cause molecules of cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) to be synthesized from adenosine triphosphate (ATP) present in the cell. cAMP acts as a second messenger within the cell where it binds to a second receptor to change the function of the cells physiology. Lipid-soluble hormones: Lipid-soluble hormones include the steroid hormones such as testosterone, estrogens, glucocorticoids, and mineralocorticoids. Because they are soluble in lipids, these hormones are able to pass directly through the phospholipid bilayer of the plasma membrane and bind directly to receptors inside the cell nucleus. Lipid-soluble hormones are able to directly control the function of a cell from these receptors, often triggering the transcription of particular genes in the DNA to produce "messenger RNAs (mRNAs)" that are used to make proteins that affect the cells growth and function. Prepared by Tim Taylor, Anatomy and Physiology Instructor

Our endocrine system is a collection of glands that produce hormones that regulate your body's growth, metabolism, and sexual development and function. The hormones are released into the bloodstream and transported to tissues and organs throughout your body. The Table below the illustration describes the function of these glands.

Glossary Adrenal glands Divided into 2 regions; secrete hormones that influence the body's metabolism, blood chemicals, and body characteristics, as well as influence the part of the nervous system that is involved in the response and defense against stress. Hypothalamus Activates and controls the part of the nervous system that controls involuntary body functions, the hormonal system, and many body functions, such as regulating sleep and stimulating appetite.

Ovaries and testicles Secrete hormones that influence female and male characteristics, respectively. Pancreas Secretes a hormone (insulin) that controls the use of glucose by the body. Parathyroid glands Secrete a hormone that maintains the calcium level in the blood. Pineal body Involved with daily biological cycles. Pituitary gland Produces a number of different hormones that influence various other endocrine glands. Thymus gland Plays a role in the body's immune system. Thyroid gland Produces hormones that stimulate body heat production, bone growth, and the body's metabolism. Source: AMA's Current Procedural Terminology, Revised 1998 Edition. CPT is a trademark of the American Medical Association. Major endocrine glands in human body The human body contains several endocrine glands and cells that secrete hormones which carry out certain functions. The main glands are the pineal gland, hypothalamus, pituitary gland, thyroid gland, parathyroid gland,adrenal gland, pancreas, and the reproductive glands (ovaries in women and testes in men). Pineal gland The pineal gland is located deep in the brain. It secretes melatonin, which is known as the "darkness hormone" because it is secreted at night while we sleep. The body's circadian rhythm, or light-dark cycles, are dependent on the levels of melatonin in the blood. The hormone is classified as an amine hormone derived from tryptophan (amino acid). The specific target of melatonin is unclear. Hormones released:

Melatonin Hypothalamus The hypothalamus, a cluster of neurons found in the brain, controls the body's homeostasis and behavioral drives, such as thirst and food intake. The hypothalamus secretes trophic hormones that control the release of other hormones in the pituitary gland, specifically in the anterior pituitary. The trophic hormones released by the hypothalamus include:

Prolactin-releasing hormone (PRH) Prolactin-inhibiting hormone (PIH; dopamine) Thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) Corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) Growth hormone-inhibiting hormone (GHIH; somatostatin) Growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH) Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH)

Once released, these hormones, which are present in both males and females, travel to the anterior pituitary through the hypothalamic-hypophyseal portal system and either stimulate or inhibit the release of the hormones of the anterior pituitary gland. Anterior Pituitary The anterior pituitary is located in the brain and is part of the larger pituitary gland. It secretes six peptide hormones (in both sexes), all of which are controlled by the trophic hormones of the hypothalamus.

Prolactin controls milk production in the breast Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH; thyrotropin) acts on the thyroid gland as a trophic hormone Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH; corticotropin) targets the adrenal cortex and affects the release of cortisol Growth hormone (GH; somatotrophin) targets the liver, consequently affecting the release of insulin-like growth factors (IGFs); also targets several other tissues Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)- acts upon the endocrine cells of the gonads in both males and females; also affects germ cells of the gonads Luteinizing hormone (LH) acts upon the endocrine cells of the gonads in both males and females; also affects germ cells of the gonads Posterior Pituitary The posterior pituitary is an extension of hypothalamic neurons and is part of the larger pituitary gland. It does not make any hormones. Rather, it stores two peptide hormones, which are made in the hypothalamus and kept for storage in the posterior pituitary. Both hormones consist of nine amino acids each (Silverthorn 2004). They are released when an electrical signal from the hypothalamus passes to the posterior pituitary causing the storage vesicles to be let into the blood circulation.

Arginine vasopressin (AVP; also called antidiuretic hormone, ADH) targets kidney to control water balance in body Oxytocin (OT)- In females, acts on breast and uterus to affect milk ejection, smooth muscle contractions during labor and delivery, may play a part in controlling maternal behavior; in males, secreted from the testes and possibly other reproductive tissues, pulses of oxytocin release can be detected during ejaculation, may play a part in sperm transport within the male reproductive system (Bowen 1998). Thyroid gland The thyroid gland, located in the neck, produces the thyroid hormones, which are amines consisting of tyrosine (an amino acid) and iodine. It also produces calcitonin, which is a peptide hormone. The thyroid hormones are not necessary for survival in adults; however, they play a crucial role for the growth and development of children. All three hormones are present in both sexes.

Calcitonin (CT) targets bone and decreases plasma calcium levels by increasing bone formation; plays larger role in lower animals Thyroid hormones

Triiodothyronine (T3), a potent form of thyroid hormone, affects metabolism, growth and development

Thyroxine (T4) is a less active form of thyroid hormone that is converted into T3 Parathyroid Gland The parathyroid gland consists of four smaller glands located on the dorsal side of the thyroid gland. It secretes one peptide hormone that plays an active role in humans, both male and female. The parathyroid gland is essential for life.

Parathyroid hormone (PTH) acts upon bone and kidneys to increase plasma calcium levels and increase phosphate excretion Pancreas The pancreas is a gland that secretes several peptide hormones. They target many tissues and affect metabolism of glucose and other nutrients.

Insulin decreases blood glucose levels, and is antagonistic to glucagon Glucagon increases blood glucose levels, and is antagonistic to insulin Somatostatin (SS), always an inhibitory hormone, stops the release of growth hormone (if released from hypothalamus) and inhibits gastrin secretion (if secreted from pancreas) Pancreatic polypeptide is responsible for coordinating exocrine and islet enzyme release Adrenal Cortex The adrenal cortex is the outer portion of the adrenal gland and it secretes steroids. It is composed of three layers: zona reticularis, zona fasciculata, and zona glomerulosa. Each layer secretes certain hormones.

Aldosterone, one of several mineralcorticoids secreted by the zona glomerulosa (outer most layer), targets the kidney and effects sodium and potassium homeostasis in the body Cortisol, secreted by the zona fasciculata (middle layer) as one of many glucocorticoids, targets many tissues and causes an increase in plasma glucose levels as well as decreased immune activity. It is permissive for glucagon and catecholamines and antagonistic to insulin. It is known as the stress hormone (stress stimulus for release), and is also released according to circadian rhythm. It has a half life of 60 to 90 minutes. Androgens, secreted by the zona reticularis (inner-most layer), is part of the sex hormones and targets many tissues and is responsible for sex drive in females. Adrenal Medulla The adrenal medulla is the inner portion of the adrenal gland. It secretes catecholamines, which are classified as amine hormones. They target many tissues and are involved in the fight or flight response, or the acute stress response, of the body. This response takes over during short-term stress situations.

Epinephrine (E; also called adrenaline) increases heart rate and stroke volume, dilates the pupils, constricts arterioles in the skin and gut while dilating arterioles in leg muscles, elevates the blood sugar level, begins the breakdown of lipids in adipocytes, and exhibits a suppressive effect on the immune system. Norepinephrine (NE; also called noradrenaline) increases heart rate, releases energy from fat, increases muscle readiness, and is recognized as playing a large role in attention and focus. Changes in the NE system are implicated in depression. NE is also a neurotransmitter in the brain. Testes The testes, or testicles, are the male gonads (reproductive organs) that play a crucial role in sexual development, secondary sex characteristics, and sperm production. These glands (two testicles) are located outside of the male body and are not fully developed until after puberty, which occurs in adolescence.

Androgen, a steroid hormone that targets many tissues, plays primary role in sperm production and development of secondary sexual characteristics. Inhibin, a peptide hormone, inhibits the release of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) from the anterior pituitary. Ovaries The female reproductive organ is the ovary. Each female is born with two ovaries, although living with one is possible and common. Each ovary fulfills two important functions: produce eggs and secrete hormones. Females are born with all of their eggs, which mature during the period of puberty.

Estrogens and Progestone (P), steroid hormones that target many tissues, are involved in egg production and secondary sexual characteristics. Ovarian inhibin, a peptide hormone that inhibits follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), targets the anterior pituitary.

Other hormone excreting organs Thymus gland The thymus gland is the site for lymphocyte (white blood cell) production. It is an immune tissue located in the chest of both sexes. Two peptide hormones are produced and secreted there, both which target lymphocytes and aid in their development.

Thymosin Thymopoietin Kidney The human body contains two kidneys, symmetrically located in the posterior region of the abdominal cavity. The adrenal glands sit above the kidneys. In general, humans are able to live with only one kidney. Two important hormones are released from this organ in both males and females.

Erythropoietin (EPO), a peptide hormone, targets bone marrow and is involved in red blood cell production. 1,25 Dihydroxy-vitamin D3 (also known as Calciferol), active form of Vitamin D3, is a steroid hormone that increases calcium absorption and targets intestines. Heart The heart, a major organ of the body and pump of the circulation system, releases one peptide hormone, atrial natriuretic peptide hormone. Its release from atrial myocytes, located in the atria, is stimulated by high blood pressure, atrial distention and stretching, sympathetic stimulation of -adrenoceptors, raised sodium concentration, angiotensin-II, and endothelin (a potent vasodilator). The hormone is a 28 amino acid peptide with a 17 amino acid ring.

Atrial Natriuretic peptide hormone (ANP; also called atriopeptin) targets kidneys and increases sodium and water excretion in order to reduce blood pressure, reduces aldosterone production by the adrenal cortex, and relaxes vascular smooth muscle in arterioles and venules. Liver The liver is responsible for the release of the peptid hormone angiotensinogen and also for the secretion of the peptide hormones referred to as insulin-like growth factors. The former consists of 453 amino acid residues and is cleaved to form angiotensin, which is the active form of the hormone.

Angiotensinogen/ Angiotensin targets the adrenal cortex, brain, and blood vessels; main effects include aldosterone secretion, vasoconstriction, and increased blood pressure. Insulin-like growth factors (IGFs) act on many tissues and are involved in growth. Stomach and Small Intestine The cells of the stomach and small intestine mostly secrete hormones that aid in digestion and also cause the absorption of nutrients. They are classified as peptide hormones and target mostly the gastrointestinal tract and pancreas. The major hormones secreted are:

Gastrin, secreted by G cells of the stomach, stimulates the release of gastric acid. Its release is inhibited by somatostatin and a pH < 1.5 (Silverthorn 2004), and the stimulus for release include amino acids in the lumen and acetylcholine in nervous reflexes. Cholecystokinin (CCK), secreted by intestinal cells and neurons of the brain and gut, targets gallbladder, pancreas, and stomach smooth muscles. The stimulus for release is fatty acids in the digestive system, and it excites the gallbladder for contraction and release of bile, stimulates pancreatic enzyme secretion, and stimulates satiety. Secretin, released by the small intestine, targets the stomach and pancreas, causes bicarbonate secretion and pepsin secretion, and inhibits gastric acid release. A stimulus for release is acid in the small intestine, while release inhibited by somatostatin. Gastric inhibitory peptide (GIP), secreted in small intestine, stimulates insulin release and inhibits acid secretion. Motilin, secreted in the small intestine, stimulates the migrating motor complex. The stimulus for release is fasting. Glucagon-like Peptide 1 (GLP-1), released by the small intestine, causes insulin release while inhibiting glucagon release, and may act in conjunction with GIP. Ghrelin, secreted by the stomach, increases the release of gastric hormone, and causes increase in food intake. Skin The skin is a collection of cells that serves as a protection layer in humans. Although it does not secrete hormones per se, like other organs, it does contain an intermediate form of an important hormone. The cells of the skin contain Vitamin D3, which is the precursor of 1,25 dihydroxy-vitamin D3, or calciferol. Vitamin D3 is converted into its active form by the sun.

Vitamin D3 Adipose tissue Adipose tissue, which is made up of adipocyte cells, stores energy in the form of fat. It also provides insulation for the body. It primarily secretes a peptide hormone called leptin, which circulates in the blood at levels proportional to body fat. It also secretes several other hormones including estradiol.

Leptin targets hypothalamus and other tissues and is involved in regulating food intake, metabolism, and reproduction. Estradiol (E2), a steroid sex hormone produced by aromatase (found in adipose tissue in both males and females), has a critical impact on reproductive and sexual functioning as well as on other organs including bone structure. It represents the major estrogen in humans. Resistin targets several tissues in the body; its exact function is not known. Adiponectin is a peptide hormone that modulates a number of metabolic processes, including glucose regulation and fatty acid catabolism. Levels of the hormone are inversely correlated with body mass index (BMI). It plays a role in metabolic disorders, such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, and atherosclerosis. Placenta Although not usually thought of as a gland, the placenta does secrete hormones. It is present only in pregnant females. Nutrient and gas transfer between the mother and fetus occurs through the placenta. The placenta also serves as a barrier and attempts to filter out harmful substances before they are able to pass on to the fetus.

Estrogens and progesterone (P), steroid hormones needed to maintain the pregnancy, target many tissues and cause fetus and maternal development.

Human chorionic somatomammotropin (CS; also called human placental lactogen, or HPL), a peptide hormone, is involved in metabolism and increases levels of glucose and fats in mother's blood. It targets many tissues. Chorionic gonadotropin (CG) is a peptide hormone that specifically targets the corpus luteum of the ovary to cause the release of various hormones. Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), a peptide hormone, prevents the disintegration of the corpus luteum of the ovary and thereby maintains progesterone production (critical for pregnancy in humans). Ovarian follicle and Corpus luteum In females, the ovarian follicle and corpus luteum each secrete estrogens, mainly estradiol, and progesterone. These aid in egg maturation and prepare for implantation of the egg into the endometrium of the uterus. Role in disease The field of medicine that deals with disorders of the endocrine glands is endocrinology, a branch of the larger field of internal medicine. Diseases of the endocrine system are common and can result when the sensitivity of targetcells to hormones has varied. Other causes of endocrinopathies include hyper or hypo secretion of hormone, ectopic production of hormone, or iatrogenic factors (physician induced). Some common pathologies include diabetes mellitus and thyroid disease. Endocrinopathies are classified as primary, secondary, or tertiary. Primary is target cell dysfunction and is normally associated with increased or decreased secretory hormones. Secondary refers to a dysfunction that originates elsewhere, like the pituitary gland, and is normally associated with increased or decreased production of trophic hormones. Tertiary is associated with dysfunction of the hypothalamus and its releasing hormones. Diffuse endocrine system Organs are not the sole way for hormones to be released into the body; there are a host of specific cells that secrete hormones independently. These are called the diffuse endocrine system and include myocytes in the atria of the heart and epithelial cells in the stomach and small intestine. In fact, if one were to classify any chemical excretions by the term "hormone," every cell in the human body could be considered a part of the endocrine system. References

Bowen, R. 1998. Oxytocin. Colorado State University. Bridgham, J. T., S. M. Carroll, and J. W. Thornton. 2006. Evolution of Hormone-Receptor Complexity by Molecular Exploitation. Science 312: 97-101. Silverthorn, D. 2004. Human Physiology, An Integrated Approach (3rd Edition). San Francisco, CA: Benjamin Cummings. ISBN 0131020153 Wyngaarden, J. B., and L. H. Smith. 1982. Cecil Textbook of Medicine (16th Edition). Philadelphia, PA: W. B. Saunders Company. ISBN 072169621X

Endocrine System

Endocrine Vs Nervous System The endocrine system acts with nervous system to coordinate the body's activities. Both systems enable cells to communicate with others by using chemical messengers. The endocrine system uses chemical messengers called hormones that are transported by the circulatory system (blood). They act on target cells that may be anywhere in the body. The endocrine system is slower than the nervous system because hormones must travel through the circulatory system to reach their target. Target cells have receptors that are specific to the signaling molecules. The binding of hormones to the receptors on or within the target cell produces a response by the target cell.

The chemical messengers used by the nervous system are neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters travel across a narrow space (the synaptic cleft) and bind to receptors on the target cell. The nervous system conducts signals much quicker than the endocrine system. Endocrine Vs Exocrine glands Endocrine glands do not have ducts. Exocrine glands have ducts that carry their secretions to specific locations. Two Kinds of Hormones Peptide Hormones Peptide hormones are composed of amino acids. A peptide hormone binds to a cell-surface receptor, it does not enter the cell. The resulting complex activates an enzyme that catalyzes the synthesis of cyclic AMP from ATP. Cyclic AMP

activates other enzymes that are inactive.

Cyclic AMP is a second messenger; the hormone is the first messenger. Other second messengers have been discovered. Steroid Hormones Steroid hormones enter the cell and bind to receptors in the cytoplasm. The hormone-receptor complex enters the nucleus where it binds with chromatin and activates specific genes. Genes (DNA) contain information to produce protein as diagrammed below. When genes are active, protein is produced.

Steroid hormones act more slowly than peptide hormones because of the time required to produce new proteins as opposed to activating proteins that are already present. Hypothalamus The hypothalamus is part of the brain. It maintains homeostasis (constant internal conditions) by regulating the internal environment (examples: heart rate, body temperature, water balance, and the secretions of the pituitary

gland). Pituitary Gland The pituitary contains two lobes. Hormones released by the posterior lobe are synthesized by neurons in the hypothalamus. Unlike the posterior lobe, the anterior lobe produces the hormones that it releases. Refer to the diagram below as you read about the hypothalamus, pituitary, and each of the glands they control.

Posterior pituitary The posterior pituitary contains axons of neurons that extend from the hypothalamus. Hormones are stored in and released from axon endings in the posterior lobe of the pituitary. Oxytocin Oxytocin stimulates the uterine contractions of labor that are needed to move the child out through the birth canal. The hormone stimulates the release of milk from the mammary glands by causing surrounding cells to contract. After birth, stimulation of the breast by the infant feeding stimulates the posterior pituitary to produce oxyticin. Antidiuretic Hormone (ADH) Antidiuretic hormone increases the permeability of the distal convoluted tubule and collecting duct of the

kidney nephron resulting in less water in the urine. The urine becomes more concentrated as water is conserved. The secretion of ADH is controlled by a negative feedback mechanism as follows: concentrated blood (too little water) --> hypothalamus --> ADH --> kidney --> reabsorbs water, makes blood more dilute Below: Within the kidney, fluid and dissolved substances are filtered from the blood and pass through tubules where some of the water and dissolved substances are reabsorbed. The remaining liquid and wastes form urine. Details of this process are discussed in the chapter on the excretory system.

The presence of too much blood in the circulatory system stimulates the heart to produce a hormone called atrial natriuretic factor (ANF). This hormone inhibits the release of ADH by the posterior pituitary causing the kidneys to excrete excess water. Alcohol inhibits the release of ADH, causing the kidneys to produce dilute urine. Control of the Anterior Pituitary The hypothalamus produces hormones that travel in blood vessels to the anterior pituitary, stimulating it to produce other hormones. The hormones produced by the hypothalamus are called hypothalamic-releasing hormones.

The anterior pituitary produces at least six different hormones. Each one is produced in response to a specific hypothalamic-releasing hormone. The blood vessel that carries hypothalamic-releasing hormones from the hypothalamus to the pituitary is called a portal vein because it connects two capillary beds. One capillary bed is in the hypothalamus and the other is in the anterior pituitary. Release-inhibiting hormones produced by the hypothalamus inhibit the pituitary from secreting its hormones.

Example The pituitary is stimulated to release growth hormone (GH) by growth hromone releasing hormone (GHRH) produced in the hypothalamus. It is inhibited from releasing growth hormone by growth hormone releaseinhibiting hormone(GHRIH), also produced by the hypothalamus.

Six different hormones produced by the anterior lobe will be studied here. Three of these have direct effects on the body, the other three control other glands.

Anterior Pituitary Hormones that Directly Affect the Body Growth Hormone (GH or Somatotropic Hormone) Growth hormone stimulates body cells to grow. If too little hormone is produced, pituitary dwarfism results. The secretion of too much hormone results in a pituitary giant. Acromegaly is a genetic disease in which growth hormone is produced throughout a persons lifetime. Prolactin Prolactin is produced in quantity after childbirth. It stimulates the development of the mammary glands and the production of milk. It is also involved in the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates. Melanocyte-Stimulating Hormone (MSH) This hormone causes skin color changes in some fishes, amphibians, and reptiles. In humans, it stimulates the melanocytes to synthesize melanin.

Anterior pituitary hormones that regulate other glands The pituitary also controls other glands and is often referred to as the "master gland". Three kinds of pituitary hormones that regulate other glands are discussed below. The glands that they regulate will be discussed in the following section. Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) -thyroid --> thyroxin

Adrenocorticotropic Hormone (ACTH) --> adrenal cortex --> cortisol Gonadotropic Hormones (FSH and LH) --> ovaries and testes --> sex hormones; controls gamete production Negative Feedback Inhibition Hormone secretions by glands that are under the control of the hypothalamus are controlled by negative feedback. When the hormone levels are high, they inhibit the hypothalamus and anterior pituitary, resulting in a decline in their levels.

Thyroid gland The thyroid produces thyroxin (also called T4 because it contains 4 iodine atoms) and triiodothyronine (also called T3 because it contains 3 iodine atoms). Both T4 and T3 have similar effects on target cells. In most target tissues, T4 is converted to T3. They influence metabolic rate, growth, and development. Thyroxin production is regulated by a negative feedback mechanism in which it inhibits the hypothalamus from stimulating the thyroid.

Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroids produce too little hormone. In adults, it results in lethargy and weight gain. In infants, it causes cretinism, which is characterized by dwarfism, mental retardation, and lack of sexual maturity. Administering thyroid hormones treats these affects. Too much T3 and T4 (hyperthyroidism) increases heart rate and blood pressure, and causes weight loss. Iodine is needed to manufacture thyroid hormones. A deficiency in iodine prevents the synthesis of thyroid hormones which, in turn, results in an excess of thyroid stimulating hormone being produced by the anterior pituitary. A goiter results when constant stimulation of the thyroid causes it to enlarge. Calcitonin The thyroid gland also secretes calcitonin, which stimulates calcium deposition in the bones. This is the opposite of the action of parathyroid hormone (see below).

Calcitonin production is not regulated by the anterior pituitary. It's secretion is stimulated by high calcium levels in the blood. Parathyroid glands The parathyroid glands are 4 small glands embedded in posterior surface of the thyroid gland. They secrete parathyroid hormone (PTH), which increases blood levels of Ca++. Bone tissue acts as a storage reservoir for calcium; PTH stimulates the removal of calcium from the bone to increase levels in the blood. PTH also increases the kidneys reabsorption of Ca++ so that less is lost in urine and it activates vitamin D which enhances Ca++ absorption from food in the gut. Secretion is regulated by the Ca++ level in the blood, (not hypothalamic or pituitary hormones).

Adrenal Cortex The outer layer of an adrenal gland is the adrenal cortex. It produces three kinds of steroid hormones. These are glucocorticoids, mineralocorticoids, and small amounts of sex hormones. The major glucocorticoid is cortisol and the major mineralocorticoid isaldosterone. Cortisol (A Glucocorticoid) Glucocorticoids are produced in response to stress. Cortisol raises the level of glucose in the blood by stimulating the liver to produce glucose from stored noncarbohydrate sources such as proteins and lipids and to release it into the blood. Cortisol reduces swelling by inhibiting the immune system. Swelling of tissues due to injury or infection is discussed in the chapter on the immune system. The drug prednisone, derived from cortisol, is used to treat inflammation. Negative feedback control of cortisol level is diagrammed below.

Aldosterone (A Mineralocorticoid) Aldosterone secretion is not under the control of the anterior pituitary. It acts primarily on the kidney to promote absorption of sodium and excretion of potassium. Increased sodium levels contributes to the retention of water and thus increased blood volume. In the absence of aldosterone, sodium is excreted and the lower sodium levels result in decreased blood volume and lower blood pressure. The presence of too much blood in the circulatory system stimulates the heart to produce atrial natriuretic factor. This hormone inhibits the release of aldosterone by the adrenal cortex and ADH by the posterior pituitary causing the kidneys to excrete excess water. The loss of water and sodium contribute to lowering the blood volume.

Adrenal Medulla The adrenal medulla is composed of modified neurons that secrete epinephrine and norepinephrine (adrenaline and noradrenaline) under conditions of stress. These hormones are released in response to a variety of stresses and stimulate the fight- or- flight response of the sympathetic nervous system. It results in a faster heart rate, faster blood flow, and dilated airways to facilitate oxygen flow to the lungs. In addition, the level of glucose in the blood is increased to make energy more available. Their secretion is controlled by brain centers (including hypothalamus) via sympathetic nerves, not by pituitary hormones. Gonads LH and FSH from the anterior pituitary stimulate the gonads (ovaries and testes). LH stimulates the testes to produce several kinds of steroid hormones called androgens. One of these androgens is testosterone, the main sex hormone in males. LH stimulates the ovaries produce estrogen and progesterone, the female sex hormones. Sex hormones are responsible for the development of secondary sex characteristics, which develop at puberty. Some examples of secondary sex characteristics in males are deepening of the voice (due to a large larynx), growth of facial hair, and muscle development. Some secondary sex characteristics in females are development of the breasts and broadening of the pelvis. Both sexes show increased activity of sweat glands and sebaceous glands (oil glands in the skin), and growth of pubic and axillary (armpit) hair. FSH controls gamete (egg or sperm) production.

Pancreas The pancreas is a digestive gland that secretes digestive enzymes into the duodenum through the pancreatic duct. The islets of Langerhans are groups of cells within the pancreas that secrete insulin and glucagon. The islets are endocrine glands because they are ductless; the circulatory system carries their hormones to target cells. Insulin Insulin promotes the removal of glucose from the blood for storage as glycogen (muscle, liver), fats (fat cells), and protein. It promotes the buildup of fats and proteins and inhibits their use as an energy source. Glucagon Glucagon is produced in the islets of Langerhans but by different cells than those that produce insulin. The effects of glucagon are opposite those of insulin. It raises the level of glucose in the blood. It is normally secreted between meals to maintain the concentration of glucose in the blood.

Diabetes Mellitus Diabetes mellitus is a disease in which glucose is not sufficiently metabolized. This results in high glucose levels in blood and glucose in the urine. Cells can starve because glucose is not being metabolized. Type I Type I diabetes is also called "juvenile-onset diabetes" or "insulin-dependent diabetes" because the symptoms usually appear during childhood and insulin injections are necessary to treat it. It usually occurs after a viral infection triggers an immune response that results in the body destroying its own insulin-producing cells. Because the disease is caused by a lack of insulin, it can be treated with insulin injections. Type II Type II diabetes is more common than type I. Type II diabetes is caused by a deficiency in insulin production or by changes in insulin receptors on the target cells. In either case, blood glucose level may be high because cells do not receive the message to metabolize glucose. This form of diabetes usually becomes noticeable in middle age. It is treated with a low fat, low sugar diet, regular exercise, weight control. Another treatment is oral medications that make the cells more sensitive to the effects of insulin or that stimulate more insulin production. Thymus Gland The thymus grows during childhood but gradually decreases in size after puberty. Lymphocytes that have passed through the thymus are transformed into T cells. Lymphocytes are white blood cells that function to fight infection. There are two kinds of lymphocytes: B cells and T cells. T cells participate in identifying and destroying body cells that are infected. Thymus hormones called thymosins stimulate the development and differentiation of T lymphocytes. They play a role in regulating the immune system by stimulating other kinds of immune cells as well.

Pineal Gland Fish and Amphibians The pineal gland of fish and amphibians is located near the skin and functions to detect light. Birds and Mammals In birds, it is located on the brain but still receives direct light stimulus through the skull. In mammals, it is located within the brain and therefore cannot receive light stimulation directly. Light from the eyes stimulates the gland via the optic nerve. Melatonin is produced when the pineal gland is in the dark. During the winter, nights are longer and as a result the level of melatonin in the blood is higher. The level of melatonin in the blood therefore varies with season and can be used to help animals time events such as when to breed, nest, migrate, etc. These annual cycles are called circannual rhythms. Melatonin may also participate in producing 24-hour cycles called circadian rhythms. In humans, the gland may be involved in sexual development. Flashcards The next five pages contain flashcards that can be used to learn the glands and their secretions. Use scissors to cut out the flashcards. 1) Eleven of the cards contain gland names written on one side. Write the name of the secretion on the other side. Go through these cards by viewing the gland name and trying to identify the secretion. Then, go through the cards by viewing the secretion name and trying to identify the gland name. Continue going through all of the cards until you have learned all of the glands and their secretions. 2) Twenty-three cards have secretions written on one side. Write the following information on the other side:

-The name of the gland that produces the hormone -How the hormone affects the body -How production of the hormone is controlled Go through these cards by viewing the secretion name and trying to state the effect of the hormone and then telling how the hormone is controlled. Continue going through the cards until you have learned how the hormones affect the body and how the hormones are controlled. Glands Secretions adrenal cortex adrenocorticotropic hormone adrenal medulla aldosterone anterior pituitary antidiuretic hormone ovaries calcitonin testes cortisol pancreas epinephrine, norepinephrine parathyroid estrogen pineal FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) posterior pituitary glucagon thymus gonadotropic hormones (FSH, LH) thyroid growth hormone insulin LH (leutinizing hormone) melatonin oxytocin parathyroid hormone prolactin progesterone testosterone thymosins thyroid stimulating hormone thyroxin triiodothyronine