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The Endocrine System

By Nigel Henderson

The Endocrine System
The system consists of glands widely separated from each other Such glands are ductless Glands may have a duct and are referred to as Exocrine Glands Endocrine Glands release contents from their cells directly into the blood stream • Exocrine glands release their contents via a duct onto the external surface of the body • Consider combined Glands and organs e.g. Pancreas • • • •

• Secretions from endocrine glands are called Hormones • Hormones influence target tissues/organs • Endocrine System regulates from a point of duration rather than speed • The Autonomic Nervous System provides a rapid response • Glands not directly connected though seen as a system


Functions Include: • Control of electrolyte, fluid balance and influences metabolism – Homeostasis • Maintenance of Stress response • Promotes growth and development • Controls reproductive functions • Red Blood cell (Erythrocyte) regulation • In conjunction with Autonomic Nervous System involved in nutrient acquisition and control of blood circulation

• Hormones can exert an effect on a target tissue or stimulate hormone production • This is their sole function • If sole function to stimulate hormone production then termed a tropic hormone • If sole function to exert effect on target tissue (non endocrine) then called a non tropic hormone

• • • • Hormones Classified by structure: Amines made from amino acid tyrosine Peptides made from amino acid chains Steroids made from lipids (fats) derived from cholesterol


The Endocrine System
Complexity of system further confirmed by the fact that: • One gland may produce several tropic and non tropic hormones (anterior pituitary) • One hormone may be secreted by more than one gland • One hormone may affect different target tissues bringing about differing effects • A single cell within a target organ may be affected by more than one hormone • Some organs may be wholly endocrine whereas some may have exocrine or non endocrine functions • Some target tissues may be affected by both hormones and stimuli which are Neurogenic in nature

The Endocrine System
• • • • • • The main glands of the endocrine are: Pituitary Pineal Thyroid and Parathyroid Adrenal (Suprarenal) Pancreas (Islets of Langerhans) Ovaries (female) & Testes (Male)

The Endocrine System


The Pituitary Gland
• • • • • Consists of Anterior and Posterior Sections The Anterior Pituitary produces: Growth Hormone Thyroid Stimulating Hormone Adrenocorticotrophic Hormone Prolactin Hormone Gonadotrophic Hormones (Follicle Stimulating and Luteinising Hormones)

The Pituitary Gland
The Posterior pituitary is not really a gland but a storage facility for: • Antidiuretic Hormone • Oxytocin


Pineal Gland
Pineal Gland: • Melatonin • Concerned with the circadian rhythm • Production affected by sunlight • Calcifies in the elderly • Consider World wide travel

The Thyroid Gland
Thyroid Gland produce: • Thyroxin • Tri iodothyronine Parathyroid Glands produce: • Parathormone


The Adrenal Glands
The Adrenal Cortex produces: • Glucocorticoids Cortisol (hydrocortisone) & Corticosterone • Mineralcorticoid Aldosterone • Sex Hormones Testosterone, Oestrogens & Progesterone

The Adrenal Glands
The Adrenal Medulla produces: • Catecholamines Adrenaline (epinephrine) Noradrenaline (norepinephrine)


The Pancreas
Possesses both Exocrine and Endocrine Functions • Endocrine Functions: Islets of Langerhans: • Alpha cells produce glucagon • Beta cells produce insulin


The Endocrine System
Control Mechanisms • Negative feedback acts to maintain the homeostatic balance of the body. Used in control of hormonal production

• The Endocrine system is complex • Though there are no direct connections between organs considered a system • The Autonomic System utilised for speed with Endocrine for duration • Utilise hormones • Essential for normal Homeostasis • Negative Feedback is utilised in hormonal control