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Endocrine System

Learning Objectives:
- Differentiate between exocrine and endocrine glands.
- Describe the structure of the thyroid gland.
- Explain how thyroxine is produced, regulated and state its
- Differentiate the symptoms of hypothyroidism and
• Overview: The Body’s Long-Distance Regulators
• An animal hormone
– Is a chemical signal that is secreted into the circulatory
system and communicates regulatory messages within
the body

• Hormones may reach all parts of the body

– But only certain types of cells, target cells, are equipped
to respond

• Exocrine glands release their secretion into ducts.

• Endocrine glands release their secretion, hormones into
the bloods
• Insect metamorphosis
– Is regulated by hormones
• The endocrine system and the nervous system act
individually and together in regulating an animal’s physiology

• A gland which is both endocrine gland exocrine gland is


• Animals have two systems of internal communication and

– The nervous system and the endocrine system
The main endocrine glands in the human body




• The nervous system
– Conveys high-speed electrical signals along specialized
cells called neurons

• The endocrine system, made up of endocrine glands

– Secretes hormones that coordinate slower but longer-
acting responses to stimuli via the bloodstream

• The endocrine and nervous systems

– Often function together in maintaining homeostasis,
development, and reproduction
• Specialized nerve cells known as neurosecretory cells
– Release neurohormones into the blood

• Both endocrine hormones and neurohormones

– Function as long-distance regulators of many
physiological processes
• A common feature of control pathways
– Is a feedback loop connecting the response to the initial

• Negative feedback
– Regulates many hormonal pathways involved in
– High concentration of a hormone or some other
substance inhibits further secretion.
• Four major classes of molecules function as hormones in

– Proteins and peptides (ADH and TSH)

– Amines (from tyrosine) derived from amino acids
– Steroids (from cholesterol)
– Prostaglandins (derivates from fatty acids)
• Signaling by any of these molecules involves three key

– Reception
– Signal transduction
– Response
Endocrine Disorders

• Hyposecretion
– abnormally reduced output of hormones

• Hypersecretion
– abnormally increased output of hormones
The thyroid gland
• Located in the neck. Consists of two lobes located on the
ventral surface of the trachea
• Secretes thyroxine, which contains iodine.
• The secretory cells form follicles, in which inactive precursor
of the hormone, thyroglobulin, is stored before being
converted into thyroxine and released into bloodstream.
• Numerous capillaries lie between the follicles, their thin walls
in close contact with the thyroid cells.
• The hypothalamus and anterior pituitary
– Control the secretion of thyroid hormones through two
negative feedback loops




T3 + T4
How thyroxine is produced?
- Thyroid cells takes up tyrosine and iodide ions from the
blood by active transport.
- Once inside the thyroid cells, iodide is oxidized into iodine.
- Iodine is incorporated into thyroglobulin.
- Thyroglobulin is transferred by exocytosis into the follicle and
- When the body needs thyroxine, thyroglobulin is taken up by
endocytosis into the thyroid cells and is converted into
thyroxine and secreted into the bloodstream when instructed
by the TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone). Thyroid cells
contains a protease which removes the conjugated protein,
thus allowing the free hormone to be released.
Functions of thyroxine
- Thyroxine controls the basal metabolic rate (BMR), and is
therefore important in growth.
- If undersecretion – hypothyrodism.
- Causes: damaged thyroid gland, iodine deficiency
- If occurs during teenagers – patient is physically and
mentally retarded – called cretinism
- If occurs in adult – effect is not serious because the growth
has completed – called myxoedema. Symptoms are
decreased metabolic rate, increased subcutaneous fat, skin
is coarse, physical and mental sluggishness.
- If oversecretion called hyperthyroidism.
- Causes: thyroid tumour
- Symptoms are exophthalmos (bulging of the eye anteriorly),
goitre, increased metabolic rate, thin (loss of body fat), heart
rate increased, physical and mental restlessness.

• The thyroid gland also produces calcitonin

–Which functions in calcium homeostasis
• Hyperthyroidism, excessive secretion of thyroid
– Can cause Graves’ disease in humans
Primary hypothyroidism Cretinism
The control of thyroxine production
• The secretion of thyroxine into the bloodstream is triggered
by TSH.
• TSH is produced by pituitary gland (anterior lobe).
Production of TSH is regulated by throxine.
• If thyroxine in blood decreased, it stimulates the pituitary to
produce TSH ------ TSH in the blood increased ------ thyroid
activity increases ----- more thyroxine produced.
• If thyroxine increases in the blood ---- it inhibits the pituitary
to produce TSH ---- TSH in the blood reduced ------ thyroid
activity reduces ---- less thyroxine produced.
Learning Objectives:
- Describe the structure and importance of the pituitary
- State the hormones produced by the organs in the human
body and its functions.
- Explain the model of hormonal action for steroid and
peptide hormones.
Cell-Surface Receptors for Water-Soluble
• The receptors for most water-soluble hormones
– Are embedded in the plasma membrane, projecting
outward from the cell surface SECRETORY


Signal receptor


Cytoplasmic OR

(a) Receptor in plasma membrane DNA

• Binding of a hormone to its receptor

– Initiates a signal transduction pathway leading to

specific responses in the cytoplasm or a change in
gene expression
Intracellular Receptors for Lipid-Soluble Hormones

• Steroids, thyroid hormones, and the hormonal form of

vitamin D

– Enter target cells and bind to specific protein

receptors in the cytoplasm or nucleus
• The protein-receptor complexes

– Then act as transcription factors in the nucleus,

regulating transcription of specific genes





Signal DNA
and response


(b) Receptor in cell nucleus Synthesis of

specific proteins
• The hypothalamus and the pituitary gland
– Control much of the endocrine system
• The major human endocrine glands

Pineal gland
Pituitary gland
Thyroid gland
Parathyroid glands

Adrenal glands


• Major human endocrine glands and some of their
Relation Between the Hypothalamus and Pituitary Gland

• The hypothalamus, a region of the lower brain

– Contains different sets of neurosecretory cells
• The hypothalamus is connected to the anterior lobe via the
portal blood vessels.
• Portal blood vessel is one with capillaries at both ends.
• When the hypothalamus is stimulated, neurosecretory cells
secrete the ‘releasing hormones’ into the portal vessels.
• The ‘releasing hormones’ are carried to the anterior lobe
and regulate the secretion of various hormones.
• An example of ‘releasing hormones’ is the thyroid releasing
hormone (TRH) which regulates the TSH (Thyroid
Stimulating Hormone).
• The hypothalamus is connected to the posterior lobe by
• Neurons carry hormones from the hypothalamus to the
posterior lobe and stored in the nerve terminals.
• When appropriate the neurons transmit impulses to the
posterior lobe causing the hormones to be released into the
• This is called the neurosecretion.
• Some of these cells produce direct-acting hormones
– That are stored in and released from the posterior
pituitary, or neurohypophysis


cells of the Axon



TARGET Kidney tubules Mammary glands,

uterine muscles
• Other hypothalamic cells produce tropic hormones

– That are secreted into the blood and transported to

the anterior pituitary or adenohypophysis

Tropic Effects Only Neurosecretory cells

FSH, follicle-stimulating hormone of the hypothalamus
LH, luteinizing hormone
TSH, thyroid-stimulating hormone
ACTH, adrenocorticotropic hormone

Nontropic Effects Only

MSH, melanocyte-stimulating hormone
Portal vessels
Nontropic and Tropic Effects
Growth hormone
Hypothalamic Endocrine cells of the
releasing anterior pituitary
(red dots) Pituitary hormones
(blue dots)

HORMONE FSH and LH TSH ACTH Prolactin MSH Endorphin Growth hormone

TARGET Testes or Thyroid Adrenal Mammary Melanocytes Pain receptors Liver Bones
ovaries cortex glands in the brain
• The anterior pituitary
– Is a true-endocrine gland

• The tropic hormones of the hypothalamus

– Control release of hormones from the anterior

Posterior Pituitary Hormones

• The two hormones released from the posterior pituitary

– Act directly on nonendocrine tissues

• Oxytocin
– Induces uterine contractions and milk ejection

• Antidiuretic hormone (ADH)

– Enhances water reabsorption in the kidneys
Anterior Pituitary Hormones

• The anterior pituitary

– Produces both tropic and nontropic hormones
Tropic Hormones - are hormones that regulate the
activity of various other endocrine glands.

• The four strictly tropic hormones are

– Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)

– Luteinizing hormone (LH)
– Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH)
– Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)
• Each tropic hormone acts on its target endocrine tissue

– To stimulate release of hormone(s) with direct metabolic

or developmental effects
Nontropic Hormones - are hormones that directly
stimulate target cells to induce effects.
• The nontropic hormones produced by the anterior pituitary

– Prolactin
– Melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH)
• Prolactin stimulates lactation in mammals
– But has diverse effects in different vertebrates

• MSH influences skin pigmentation in some vertebrates

– And fat metabolism in mammals
Growth Hormone

• Growth hormone (GH)

– Promotes growth directly and has diverse metabolic


– Stimulates the production of growth factors by other

• Nonpituitary hormones help regulate metabolism,
homeostasis, development, and behavior

• Many nonpituitary hormones

– Regulate various functions in the body
Insulin and Glucagon: Control of Blood Glucose

• Two types of cells in the pancreas

– Secrete insulin and glucagon, antagonistic
hormones that help maintain glucose homeostasis
and are found in clusters in the islets of Langerhans
Adrenal Hormones: Response to Stress
• The adrenal glands

– Are adjacent to the kidneys

– Are actually made up of two glands: the adrenal
medulla and the adrenal cortex
Stress Hormones from the Adrenal Cortex

• Hormones from the adrenal cortex

– Also function in the body’s response to stress

– Fall into three classes of steroid hormones

Gonadal Sex Hormones
• The gonads—testes and ovaries

– Produce most of the body’s sex hormones: androgens,

estrogens, and progestins
• The testes primarily synthesize androgens, the main one
being testosterone

– Which stimulate the development and maintenance of

the male reproductive system
• Testosterone causes an increase in muscle and bone

– And is often taken as a supplement to cause muscle

growth, which carries many health risks
• Estrogens
– Are responsible for the maintenance of the female
reproductive system and the development of female
secondary sex characteristics

• In mammals, progestins, which include progesterone

– Are primarily involved in preparing and maintaining the

How hormones control cells?

• The model of hormonal action – 1st model

• The model of hormonal action – 2nd model
The model of hormonal action –
1st model
• What happens when a hormone
reaches the target cell?
• The hormone binds to a
receptor on the cell membrane.
• This activates the adenyl
cyclase (AC) which catalyses
the conversion of ATP to cAMP.
• cAMP activates specific
enzymes in the cytoplasm which
bring about the appropriate
response within the cell.
- cAMP acts as a second
• The extent of the response
depends on the [cAMP].
• [cAMP] depends on the
balance between AC
(stimulates synthesis) and
phosphodiesterase (inhibit
• Example of hormones that use
cAMP as a second messenger
are ADH, adrenalin,
The model of hormonal action – 2nd
• Thyroxine and steroid hormones
are fat soluble so they can diffuse
through the cell membrane.
• In the cytoplasm, the hormone
binds to a specific receptor, R which
carries it into the nucleus.
• In the nucleus, the hormone
activates appropriate genes in the
• The activated genes direct the
mRNA transcription and then the
synthesis of enzyme (protein
synthesis) which brings about the
appropriate response.
Puget Sound King Crab. Color changes are caused by changes in pigment cells, a process
regulated by hormones.
The End….