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Physiology Final: Neuroendocrine System


The Neuroendocrine System and YOU! Physiology 5/8/2007

Physiology Final: Neuroendocrine System Abstract More often than not the interactions between the nervous system and the endocrine system seem to go unnoticed. This paper aims to provide the basic principles of the interactions between both systems and how they affect every other system within the human body. Within this paper certain hormones will be outlined, glands highlighted, and neuroendocrine processes brought to the forefront of all the biological process of the human body. This research paper will also discuss the relationship of stress to the neuroendocrine system and how it affects the body.

Physiology Final: Neuroendocrine System

Wikimedia, (12 April, 2007) Neuroendocrinology (Online) May 3, 2007. [] Wikimedia (16 February, 2007) Neuroendocrine (Online) May 3, 2007. [] Jaques Michaud (d.n.a.) The Neuroendocrine System (Online) May 3, 2007. [] K. Baldwin, ( 2003) Neuroendocrine System: Week 14 (Online) May 3, 2007. [] Dr. Alta Smit, M.B., B.Ch., B. Sc., (2003) The Neuroendocrine System: Lecture Transcript (Online) May 3, 2007. [] LookSmart Articles (2000) Physiological stress response of the neuroendocrine system during outdoor adventure tasks (Online) May 3, 2007. [] Journal of Leukocyte Biology (1995) Association between the neuroendocrine and immune systems (Online) May 3, 2007. [] The Journal of Histochemistry and Cytochemistry (1979) Pathology of the Neuroendocrine System (Online) May 3, 2007. [] The Doctor Will See You Now (November, 1999) Behavior: the Response to Stress (Online) May 3, 2007. [] Reuters Health (September, 2001) What is Stress? (Online) May 4, 2007. []

Physiology Final: Neuroendocrine System

The neuroendocrine system plays a very large role in maintaining the homeostasis of the human body. By controlling hormone secretion, especially in the pituitary and hypothalamus glands, the nervous system and the endocrine system directly influence the way other body systems work. The importance of the interactions between both systems can be seen throughout the entire body. The role the neuroendocrine system plays in response to stress is also a very integral one, allowing the body to go through the three stages of general adaptation syndrome. Consisting of neurons and endocrine glands which use chemicals and hormones to communicate with each other, the neuroendocrine system relies on the ability to integrate. The nervous system sends neurotransmitters which tell the endocrine system to release hormones or message molecules into the blood. The hormones released into the blood by the endocrine system help to regulate mood, tissue function, metabolism, growth and development. The glands that produce these hormones include the pituitary, thyroid, pineal, thymus, hypothalamus and adrenal glands. Although the glands of the endocrine system are located throughout the body, they use the circulatory system to disperse chemical signals to other organs (Wiki, 2007). The hypothalamus, which is considered to be the master gland, links the nervous system and the endocrine system together via the pituitary gland (Wiki, 2007). This gland takes up a significant portion of the ventral region of the diencephalon and is located just above the brain stem. Autonomic activities are regulated by the hypothalamus, including a human beings circadian rhythm and body temperature (Baldwin, 2003). There are many hormones secreted by the hypothalamus. These include hormones such as somatostatin (which inhibits the secretion of growth hormone), dopamine (which inhibits prolactin secretion), and GnRH (which stimulates the secretion of LH and FSH).

Physiology Final: Neuroendocrine System Another gland which plays a large part in the interactions between the nervous and endocrine systems is the pea sized pituitary gland. The pituitary gland secretes hormones such as prolaction, GHRH (growth hormone), FSH (follicle stimulating hormone), TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) and LH (lutenizing hormone). The hormones produced by the hypophysis help to control different body processes. Some of the body processes which are controlled by the pituitary gland are growth, blood pressure, breast milk production, thyroid functions, and metabolism (Wiki, 2007). Though the hypothalamus and pituitary glands are vital pieces to the neuroendocrine puzzle, the thyroid, pineal, adrenal, and parathyroid glands also play key roles in the proper function of the human body. The role that the neuroendocrine system plays in the response to stress is a very significant one. When the body first begins to experience stress it releases the catecholamine hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine, and the glucocorticoid hormones cortisol and cortisone (Wiki, 2007). The release of these hormones helps the body deal with stress by acting as chemical shepards. Stress can be either acute or chronic, and can be caused by any number of stressors. Common acute stressors include noise, infections, perceived threats and isolation. In most situations, when the stressor has disappeared, acute stress subsides and the body returns to normal (Reuters, 2001). Chronic stress on the other hand, can be far more dangerous. Constant stressing about work, relationships, or some other persistent stressor can cause long term damage or can even be fatal. In order to reduce the effects of stress many doctors recommend a combination of a healthy lifestyle, cognitive-behavioral methods (such as identifying and questioning the source of stress), changing professions, spending time with loved ones, and implementing relaxation techniques. By learning to moderate and cut down on stressors a person

Physiology Final: Neuroendocrine System can continue to maintain a healthy balance within their body, thus their neuroendocrine system does not have to work overtime. By studying the interactions within the neuroendocrine system, researchers have also discovered connections between the neuroendocrine system and the immune system. When an organism responds to infection it uses complex bidirectional communication between the immune and neuroendocrine systems. (JLB, 1995) This crosstalk initiates certain immunological functions which in turn begin the struggle over the infection. The neuroendocrine system plays such an essential role in keeping our body healthy, yet it often takes a backseat to other body systems which are deemed more important. Neuroendocrine systems have been so important to our understanding of many basic principles of neuroscience and physiology and with any luck the field of neuroendocrinology will continue to bring about new discoveries in the fight against disease.