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The Endocrine System

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Endocrine Glands

o Endocrine glands are ductless
o Secrete hormones
• Chemical signals that influence:

Metabolism

Growth and development

Homeostasis
• Categories of hormones

Peptides (proteins, glycoproteins, and
modified amino acids)

Steroid hormones
Endocrine Glands

o Hormone function
• Second messenger system

Peptide hormone binds to a receptor protein on
the plasma membrane

Peptide hormone (“first messenger”) activates a
“second messenger” (cyclic AMP and calcium)

Second messenger sets in motion an enzyme
cascade that leads to a cellular response
 Change in cellular behavior
 Formation of an end product that leaves the cell
Fig 10.2 Binding of a peptide hormone leads to
cAMP activation of an enzyme cascade

Fig 10.2
Endocrine Glands

• Intracellular mechanism of hormone function

Steroid hormones (lipids) diffuse across the
plasma membrane

Once inside the cell, steroid hormones bind to
receptor proteins

Hormone-receptor complex binds to DNA,
activating particular genes

Gene activation leads to production of cellular
enzymes that cause cellular changes
Fig 10.3 A steroid hormone results in a hormone receptor
complex that activates DNA and protein synthesis

Fig 10.3
Control of Hormonal Secretions

primarily controlled by negative feedback mechanism
Negative Feedback
Endocrine Glands

o Hormones and Homeostasis
• Many hormones affect concentrations of certain
substances in the blood
• Other hormones are involved in normal function of
various organs
• Release of hormones controlled by one or more of
the following:
 The nervous system
 The action of other hormones
 Negative feedback mechanisms
Hypothalamus and Pituitary Gland

o Hypothalamus
• Controls secretions of the pituitary
gland
• Neurosecretory cells produce

Antidiuretic hormone (ADH)

Oxytocin
Pituitary Gland Control
•Hypothalamic releasing hormones stimulate cells of
anterior pituitary to release hormones

•Nerve impulses from hypothalamus stimulate nerve
endings in the posterior pituitary gland to release hormones
Hypothalamus and Pituitary Gland

o Posterior pituitary
• Stores hypothalamic hormones ADH
and oxytocin
• ADH

Released when neurons in the
hypothalamus detect that the blood is too
concentrated with salt

Causes more water to be reabsorbed into
kidney capillaries

Raises blood pressure by vasoconstriction
of blood vessels

Diabetes insipidus results from the
inability to produce ADH
Hypothalamus and Pituitary Gland

• Oxytocin

Causes uterine contraction during
childbirth

Causes milk letdown when a baby is
nursing

Release of oxytocin is controlled by
positive feedback
Hypothalamus and Pituitary Gland

o Anterior pituitary
• Controlled by hypothalamic hormones
• Hormones that affect other glands

Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH)

Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)

Gonadotropic hormones
• Effects of other hormones

Prolactin (PRL)

Growth hormone (GH)
Hypothalamic Hormones
Hormones of the Pituitary Gland
Hypothalamus and Pituitary Gland

• Effects of growth hormone

Affects the height of an individual

Pituitary dwarfism results if too little GH is
produced during childhood

If too much GH is produced during
childhood, a person can become a giant

Acromegaly results when too much GH is
secreted in adulthood
Thyroid and Parathyroid

o Thyroid Gland
• Two forms of thyroid hormone
 Triiodothyronine (T3) contains 3 iodine
atoms
 Thyroxine (T4) contains 4 iodine atoms
• Effects of thyroid hormone

Increase the metabolic rate

Stimulate all cells of the body
Regulation of Thyroid Hormone Secretions

( -
) ()
Fig 10.4
eg.TRH

() -
( )

eg.TSH

eg.T3, T4
Thyroid and Parathyroid

• Simple goiter

Caused by a lack of
iodine

Thyroid enlarges in Fig 10.7

response to constant
stimulation by the
anterior pituitary
Thyroid and Parathyroid

• Congenital hypothyroidism

Thyroid fails to develop
properly

Undersecretion of thyroid
hormone

Individuals are short and Fig 10.8
stocky
• Myxedema

Hypothyroidism in adults

Characterized by
 Lethargy
 Weight gain
 Loss of hair
 Slower pulse rate
 Lowered body
temperature
 Thick and puffy skin
Thyroid and Parathyroid

• Hyperthyroidism (Grave’s Disease)

Oversecretion of thyroid hormone

Exophthalmic goiter forms
 Edema in eye socket tissues
 Swelling of the muscles that move the eyes

Symptoms include
 Hyperactivity
 Nervousness and irritability
 Insomnia
Thyroid and Parathyroid

• Calcitonin

Helps control blood calcium levels

Secreted when the blood calcium levels
rise

Brings about the deposit of calcium in the
bones
Thyroid Gland Hormones
Disorders of the Thyroid Gland
Thyroid and Parathyroid

o Parathyroid Glands
• Posterior surface of the thyroid gland
• Produces parathyroid hormone (PTH)
 Causes blood phosphate (HPO42-) level to decrease

Causes blood calcium (Ca2+) level to increase
 Promotes the release of calcium from the bones
 Promotes the reabsorption of calcium by the kidneys

Activates vitamin D in the kidneys, which
stimulates the reabsorption of calcium from the
intestines

Hypocalcemic tetany results when there is
insufficient secretion of PTH
Parathyroid Hormone

Mechanism by which PTH promotes calcium
absorption in the intestine
Disorders of the Parathyroid Glands
Adrenal Glands

o Adrenal Medulla
• Inner portion
• Under nervous control
• Secretes epinephrine (adrenaline) and
norepinephrine (noradrenaline)
• Causes “fight or flight” responses
• Provide a short-term response to
stress
Adrenal Glands

o Adrenal Cortex
• Outer portion
• Under the control of ACTH
• Hormones

Provide a long-term response to stress

Mineralcorticoids

Glucocorticoids

Male and female sex hormones
Fig 10.10 Adrenal glands. Adrenal medulla & Adrenal cortex
under control of the hypothalamus and respond to stress

Left: Adrenal medulla provides a Right: Adrenal cortex provides a slower
rapid but short-term stress response but long-term stress response
Adrenal Glands

• Glucocorticoids (cortisol)

Raises the blood glucose level in at least 2
ways:
 Promotes the breakdown of muscle proteins to
amino acids which pass to the bloodstream.
Liver then converts excess amino acids to
glucose.
 Promotes the metabolism of fatty acids instead
of carbohydrates as spares glucose for the
brain

Counteracts the inflammatory response
and can relieve swelling and pain e.g.
arthritis and bursitis
 Can also make a person susceptible to injury
and infection
Adrenal Glands

• Mineralcorticoids (aldosterone)

Targets the kidney

Promotes renal absorption of sodium and water

Promotes renal excretion of potassium

ACTH is not the primary controller for aldosterone
secretion

Renin-Angiotensin mechanism stimulates
aldosterone secretion when the blood sodium level
and blood pressure are low

Renin-Angiotensin-Aldosterone system raises
blood pressure in two ways:
 Angiotensin II constricts arterioles
 Aldosterone causes the kidneys to reabsorb sodium

Atrial natriuretic hormone (ANH) is antagonistic to
aldosterone
Fig 10.11
Adrenal Glands

• Malfunction of the Adrenal Cortex

Addison Disease
 Hyposecretion of adrenal cortex hormones
 Excessive (but ineffective) ACTH causes
bronzing of the skin
 Because glucose cannot be replenished without
cortisol, individuals are susceptible to infection
 Lack of aldosterone results in the development
of low blood pressure and possibly severe
dehydration

Cushing Syndrome
 Hypersecretion of adrenal cortex hormones
 Tendency towards diabetes mellitus
 Excess aldosterone leads to hypertension
Pancreas
o Composed of two types of tissue
• Exocrine – secretes digestive juices
• Endocrine tissue (pancreatic islets or
islets of Langerhans) produces insulin
and glucagon.
Pancreas

Insulin

Secreted by beta-cells pancreatic islets or
islets of Langerhans

Secreted when blood glucose level is high

Stimulates the uptake of glucose by most
body cells

sensitive body cells are unable to take up
and/or metabolize glucose
Pancreas

Glucagon

Also secreted by the pancreas

Secreted when blood glucose levels are low

Targets liver and adipose tissue

Stimulates liver to break down glycogen to
glucose

when blood glucose levels decrease, it
stimulates the breakdown of glycogen in the
liver which raises the glucose level in the
blood
• Diabetes milletus

Characterize by elevated 2 hour serum glucose
levels after intake of 75g glucose and does
NOT resume below 200mg/dL within 2 hours.

sometimes greatly elevated from 1 to 5 hours.

Symptoms:
 Polyphagia – extreme hunger
 Glycosuria – glucose in the urine
 Polyuria – excessive water loss through urine
 Polydipsia – extreme thirst
Pancreas

• Blood glucose level is elevated
(hyperglycemia)

without insulin, diabetic ketoacidosis often develops
which may result in coma or death

Ketoacidosis- in the starvation/absence of glucose,
the body is forced to break down fat for sustenance
due to their lack of outside nutrition

the body fails to adequately regulate ketone
production causing a severe accumulation of keto
acids.

pH of the blood is substantially decreased.

Ketouria - ketone bodies present in the urine,
produced as a normal response to a shortage of
glucose, as alternate source of fuel from fatty acid
Fig 10.14
Pancreas

• Two forms of diabetes mellitus

Type I – insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus
(IDDM)
 Also known as childhood-onset diabetes, juvenile
diabetes
 Pancreas does not produce insulin
 Immune cells destroy the pancreatic islets
 characterized by loss of the insulin-producing beta cells
of the islets of Langerhans in the pancreas
 deficiency of insulin
 cause of this beta cell loss is a T-cell mediated
autoimmune attack.
 Type 1 diabetes can affect children or adults but was
traditionally termed "juvenile diabetes" because it
represents a majority of the diabetes cases in children
Pancreas

• Type II – non-insulin-dependent diabetes
mellitus (NIDDM)

Also known as adult-onset diabetes, obesity-
related diabetes).

Characterized differently due to insulin resistance
or reduced insulin sensitivity, combined with
reduced insulin secretion.

Involves the insulin receptor in cell membranes

Receptors on the cells do not respond to insulin

Normal or elevated amounts of insulin are
present in the blood
Pancreas

o Treatment of Diabetes Mellitus
Mainly lifestyle adjustments :
o diet – careful monitoring dietary intake of
sugar & carbohydrates
o regular exercise but not strenuous
exercises
o deliver insulin by a pump or subcutaneous
injections (allows continuous infusion of
insulin 24 hours a day at preset levels)
o BUT cannot reverse the progress of the
disease.
Other Endocrine Glands

o Testes and ovaries
• Testes produce androgens
(testosterone)
• Ovaries produce estrogens and
progesterone
• Secretion is controlled by the
hypothalamus and the pituitary
Other Endocrine Glands

• Androgens

Increased testosterone secretion during
puberty stimulates the growth of the
penis and the testes

Brings about and maintains the male
secondary sex characteristics
 Facial, axillary, and pubic hair
 Enlargement of larynx and the vocal cords
 Muscular strength

Stimulates oil and sweat glands of the
skin
Other Endocrine Glands

• Estrogen and Progesterone

Required for breast development

Regulation of the uterine cycle

Estrogens
 Stimulate the growth of the uterus and the
vagina during puberty
 Necessary for egg maturation
 Responsible for secondary sex characteristics
- Female body hair
- Fat distribution
Other Endocrine Glands

o Thymus Gland
• Most active during childhood
• Transforms lymphocytes into thymus-
derived lymphocytes (T-lymphocytes)
• Epithelial cells secrete hormones
called thymosins
o Pineal Gland
• Located in the brain
• Produces the hormone melatonin
• Melatonin is involved in daily sleep-
wake cycle
Other Endocrine Glands

o Hormones from Other Tissues
• Leptin

Produced by adipose tissue

Signals satiety in hypothalamus
• Growth Factors – stimulate cell
division and mitosis

Granulocyte and macrophage colony-
stimulating factor

Platelet-derived growth factor

Epidermal growth factor and nerve growth
factor

Tumor angiogenesis factor
Other Endocrine Glands

• Prostaglandins

Potent chemical signals

Act locally

Some effects of prostaglandins include:
 Uterine contractions
 Mediate the effects of pyrogens
 Reduce gastric secretion
 Lower blood pressure
 Inhibit platelet aggregation
The Importance of Chemical Signals

o Cells and organs communicate
with one another using chemical
signals
o Chemical signals between
individuals
• Called pheromones
• Humans produce airborne chemicals
from a variety of areas
Homeostasis

o The endocrine system and the
nervous system work together to
maintain homeostasis
o The endocrine system helps
regulate the following:
• Digestion
• Fuel metabolism
• Blood pressure and volume
• Calcium balance
• Response to the external environment