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The Endocrine System

Feedback Systems and Hormone Responses

Hannah Goodsite, Gwendolyn Henry, Kristy

Feedback Systems
Help maintain homeostasis and regulate body functions

Can be positive or negative

Effector either amplifies or reduces effect of stimulus and therefore

amplifies or reduces production of the effector itself
Pathway of Hormones in Feedback Systems
Internal or environmental stimulus

Hormone secreted

Travels in bloodstream to target cells

Signal transduction brings about physiological response

Response leads to reduction or amplification of stimulus (+/-

Feedback System Vocabulary
Stimulus: a change in a system

Effector: the effect of the response to the change

Sensor: detection of a change in a system

Control: the response to a change in a system

Positive Feedback Systems
Effector increases the effect of the stimulus which increases
production of the effector
Ex. blood clotting in a cut

Platelets release chemicals that signal more platelets to come to the site of the

Ex. labor

Oxytocin stimulates uterine contractions

Negative Feedback Systems
Effector reduces the effect of the stimulus which decreases the
production of the effector
Ex. control of blood sugar by insulin

Blood sugar rises and pancreas secretes insulin into blood to lower blood sugar

Ex. sweating to reduce body temperature

Heat causes a person to sweat which lowers body temperature

Signaling Molecules
Signaling molecules bind to target receptors on target cells and
trigger specific response pathways

Types of signaling molecules

Hormones - help maintain homeostasis through communicating messages to target

Local regulators - act over short distances through the process of diffusion

Neurotransmitters - communicate between neurons and target cells

Neurohormones - type of neurotransmitter that diffuses from neuron to


Pheromones - chemicals released into environment

Chemical Classes of Hormones
Cleavage of a longer protein chain


Synthesized from an amino acid


All derived from cholesterol (4 rings)

Can be water or lipid soluble

Response Pathways
Water soluble pathway
Binding of a water soluble hormone to signal receptor protein triggers events at the
plasma membrane that result in a cellular response

Signal transduction - series of changes in cellular proteins that converts extracellular

chemical signal to intracellular response

Lipid soluble pathway

Hormone activates the receptor which directly triggers the cellular response

Most often causes a change in gene expression

Different cells have different receptors

Effects of Hormones
Epinephrine (aka adrenaline)
Responds to short-term stress (ANS)

Increases glycogen breakdown in liver (so glucose is released from the liver cells)
and increases blood flow to skeletal muscles

Decreases blood flow to digestive tract

One can work on multiple types of tissue

Estrogen in a bird stimulates its liver and reproductive system

One can have different effects on different species

Signaling by Local Regulators
Nitric oxide (NO)
Neurotransmitter and local regulator

Helps relax smooth muscle cells to cause vasodilation when there is a lack of oxygen
in the blood

Modified fatty acids

In semen - stimulate uterine wall to contract and help sperm reach an egg

In the immune system - promote fever and inflammation and intensify sensation of

Regulate aggregation of platelets

Insulin and Diabetes
Blood sugar rises or falls causing pancreas to release insulin or
glucagon respectively

Liver takes up or releases glucose in blood

Type 1 Diabetes
Insulin dependent

Immune system destroys beta cells of pancreas

Type 2 Diabetes
Non-insulin dependent

Failure of target cells to respond normally to insulin