ENDOCRINE SYSTEM FACT SHEET

KEY FUNCTION
 Endocrine glands (ductless glands) secrete hormones that travel thru the
bloodstream to signal specific target cells
 Along with the NS the endocrine system function to achieve and maintain
stability of the internal environment
GLANDS OF THE ENDOCRINE SYSTEM
HYPOTHALAMUS
 Part of the diencephalon below the thalamus
 Connects to pituitary gland
 Regulates the ANS – temp, appetite, sweating, thirst, sexual behavior
 this occurs thru its connection with the pituitary
PITUITARY
 Size of a pea located @ the base of the brain stem
 2 separate glands – adenohypophysis (anterior) and neurohypophysis
(posterior)
 MOST IMPORTANT endocrine gland b/c it releases hormones that
regulate several other endocrine glands
 Influenced by seasonal changes and emotions
 Secretes endorphins that act on NS and reduce sensitivity to pain
 Controls ovulation and works as a catalyst for the testes and ovaries
to create sex hormones
THYROID
 Located anterior/laterally to trachea it is responsible for producing
triiodothyronine which controls the rate @ which cells burn the fuel
from food
PARATHYROID
 Produce parathyroid hormone which is an antagonist to calcitonin
and is important for the maintenance of normal blood levels of
calcium and phosphate
 Increases the reabsorption of calcium and phosphate from bones to
blood
 Secretion of parathyroid is stimulated by hypocalcaemia
ADRENAL GLANDS
 Outer portion = adrenal cortex, inner portion = adrenal medulla
 Produces corticosteroids that regular water/sodium balance, body’s
response to stress, immune system, sexual development and
metabolism
 Medulla produces epinephrine that increases HR and BP w/ increase
stress
PANCREAS
 Includes both endocrine and exocrine tissues
 Islets of Langerhans are hormone producing cells of the pancreas
 Alpha cells produce glucagon and beta cells produce insulin
 These hormones work together to ensure a consistent level of glucose
and maintain stores of energy
OVARIES
 Provide estrogens and progesterone that regular menstrual
cycle/pregnancy
 Estrogen is secreted by ovarian follicles: needed for the development
and maintenance of female characteristics
 Progesterone is produced by the corpus luteum and maintains the
lining of the uterus @ a level necessary for pregnancy
TESTES
 Secrete androgens (most important = testosterone) which support
male sexual characteristics and production of sperm
HORMONE CLASSES
STERIOD HORMONES
 Example = prostaglandins
 Created by all cells from the phospholipids of the cell membranes
 Do not circulate in blood but exert effects only where they are
produced
 Effects include – inflammation, pain, vasodilation, vasoconstriction,
nutrient metabolism and blood clotting
AMINE HORMONES
 Example = catecholamines which are epinephrine, norepinephrine
and dopamine
 Synthesized from chromaffin cells w/in adrenal medulla
 Stimulated by SNS
 Epinephrine has largest effect on the sympathetic nervous system
o Target receptors are in the cardiovascular system and
metabolic system
 Other effects = increasing cardiac contraction, vasoconstriction,
activation of glycogen breakdown, blocking insulin secretion, increase
metabolic rate, dilation of airways
PEPTIDE HORMONES
 Example = insulin
 Secreted by the beta cells of the islets of Langerhans w/in pancreas