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Endocrine system

The system that regulates different physiological

processes in adjustments of metabolism, fluid
balance, growth and development.

Endocrinology, the study of endocrine activity, is

a very active and exciting field of biomedical

Endocrine system

A diverse collection of cells, tissues, and organs

including specialized endocrine glands that
produce and secrete hormones, chemical
messengers responsible for the regulation of
many body processes.

Hormones excite, or stimulate, changes in

specific tissues.

Cell signaling

Cells signal one another with neurotransmitters,

hormones, and local regulators.

Pheromones are chemical messengers that

animals produce for communication with other
animals of the same species.

Classical endocrine signaling

Classical Endocrine Signaling, hormones are

secreted by endocrine glands.

Endocrine glands secrete their hormones into the

surrounding interstitial fluid or blood.

Typically, hormones diffuse into capillaries and are

transported by the blood to target cells.

Neurohormones are transported in the blood

Neuroendocrine cells, are important link

between the nervous system and endocrine

They produce neurohormones that are

transported down the axons and released into the
interstitial fluid.

They typically diffuse into capillaries and are

transported by the blood.

Local regulators as hormones

A local regulator is a signaling molecule that

diffuses through the interstitial fluid and acts on
nearby cells.

In autocrine regulation, a hormone, or other

regulator acts on the very cells that produce it.

Paracrine regulation, a local regulation.

Local regulators

HISTAMINE stored in mast cells and is released

in response to allergic reactions, injury or
infection. It causes blood vessels to dilate and
capillaries to become more permeable.

GROWTH FACTORS stimulate cell division and

normal development

Local regulators

NITRIC OXIDE produced by many types of cells,

including those lining blood vessels, relaxes
nearby smooth muscle fibers, dilating blood

PROSTAGLANDIN are modified fatty acids

released continuously by cells of most tissues, are
paracrine regulators. Some prostagladins
stimulate smooth muscle to contract, whereas
others cause relaxation.

Four chemical groups of hormones

FATTY ACID DERIVATIVES prostaglandin and

the juvenile hormones of insects.

STEROID HORMONE molting hormone of

insects. In vertebrates, the adrenal cortex, testis
and ovary and placenta secret steroid hormones
synthesized from cholesterol


hormone chemically. Thyroid hormones are
synthesized by amino acid tyrosine and iodide

Four chemical groups of hormones

Epinephrine and norepinephrine, produced by the

medulla of adrenal gland, also derived from
tyrosine. Melatonin is synthesized from the
amino acid tryptophan,

PEPTIDE HORMONES the largest hormone

group. Neuropeptides are a large group of
signaling molecules produced by neurons.

Mechanism of hormone action

A hormone present in the extracellular fluid

remains unnoticed until it reaches its target

The target cells of a particular hormone have

receptors that recognize and bind it.

Only the hormone that fits the specific receptor

can influence the metabolic machinery of the cell.

Mechanism of hormone action

Receptors are continually synthesized and degraded.

Their numbers are increased or decreased by:

Receptor up-regulation

Receptor down-regulation

They are triggered by signals to genes that code for

the receptors, as well as by other several

Some hormones enter target cells and activate


Steroid hormones and thyroid hormones are relatively

small, lipid-soluble molecules that easily pass through
the plasma membrane of the target cell.

Specific protein receptors in the cytoplasm or in the

nucleus bind with the hormone to form a hormonereceptor complex.

This complex combines with specific receptor sites on

the nuclear DNA, and turns specific genes on or off,
activating or repressing transcription of messenger RNA
molecules that that code for specific proteins.

Some hormones enter target cells and activate


These proteins produce the changes in the

structure or metabolic activity responsible for the
hormones action.



Many hormones bind to cell-surface receptors

Peptide hormones bind to a specific cell-surface

receptor in the plasma membrane. Two main
types of cell-surface receptors are:

G protein-linked receptors

Enzyme-linked receptors

G protein-linked receptors

G Protein-linked receptors are transmembrane

proteins that loop back and forth through the
plasma membrane seven times.

These receptors initiate signal transduction; that

is, they convert an extracellular hormone signal
into an intracellular signal that affects some
intracellular process.



G protein-linked receptors

The hormone does not enter the cell. It serves as

the 1st messenger and relays information to a 2nd
messenger, or intracellular signal.

The 2nd messenger then signals effector molecules

that carry out the action. Thus, many hormones
activate a series of molecular events that
comprise a signaling cascade.

G protein-linked receptors

G Protein-linked receptors activate G

proteins, a group of integral regulatory proteins.

The G indicates that they bind guanosine

triphosphate (GTP), which, like ATP, is an
important molecule in energy reactions.

When the system in inactive, G protein binds to

guanosine diphosphate (GDP), which is similar
to ADP, the hydrolized form of ATP. D

G protein-linked receptors

Phospholipid products and calcium ions can

act as second messenger

Certain hormone-receptor complexes activates a

G protein that then activates the membranebound enzyme phospholipase C.

The enzyme phospholipase C splits a membrane

protein, PIP2 (phosphotidylinositol 4,5biphosphate), into two products:

G protein-linked receptors

1. Inositol triphosphate (IP3)

2. diacylglycerol (DAG)

They both at as second messengers

diacylglycerol (DAG) remains in the plasma

membrane where (in combination with calcium
ions) it activates protein kinase C that
phosphorylates a variety of proteins.

G protein-linked receptors

Inositol triphosphate (IP3) opens calcium ion channels

in the ER, releasing calcium ions in the cytosol. Calcium
ions have important functions in many cell processes:

Muscle contraction

Neural signaling

Microtubule disassembly

Blood clotting

Activation of some enzymes

Calcium ions exert their effects by binding to a certain

proteins such as calmodulin, molecules that change shape
and then activate certain proteins, altering their activity. D

Enzyme-linked receptors function directly

Enzyme-linked receptors are transmembrane

proteins with a hormone-binding site outside the cell
and an enzyme site inside the cell.

These receptors are not linked to proteins.

They function directly as an enzymes or are directly

linked to enzymes.

Most enzyme-linked receptors are receptor tyrosine


Enzyme-linked receptors function directly

These receptors bind signal molecules known as

growth factors, including insulin and nerve
growth factors.

When growth factor bind to the receptor, the

receptor is activated and phosphorylates the
amino acid tyrosine in specific cell proteins.

Hormone signals are amplified

Although hormones ar present in very small amounts, they

effectively regulate many physiological processes.

This is in large part the result of signal amplification, an

increase in signal strength.

For example, a single hormone molecule activates up to 100

G proteins. Each adenylyl cyclase molecule produces many
cAMP molecules. In turn, each cAMP activates a protein
kinase that phosphorylates many protein molecules. Thus
through a cascade of signals and reactions, a single
hormone molecule activates many proteins.


inVertebrate neuroendocrine systems

Among invertebrates, hormones are secreted

mainly by the endocrine glands.

These neurohormones regulate:

regeneration in hydras, flatworms and annelids

Color changes in crustaceans

Growth, development, metabolic rate, gamete

production, and reproduction including reproductive
behaviour in many groups

neuroendocrine systems

Neuroendocrine cells produce brain hormone (BH),

which is transported down axons and stored in the
paired corpora cardiaca (sing., corpus cardiacum).

When released from the corpora cardiaca, BH

stimulates the prothoracic glands, endocrine glands
in prothorax, to produce molting hormone (MH) also
called ecdysone.

Molting hormone, a steroid hormone, stimulates growth

and molting.

inVertebrate neuroendocrine systems

In the immature insect, paired endocrine glands,

called corpora allata (sing., corpus allatum)
secrete juvenile hormone (JH).

This hormone suppresses metamorphosis at each

larval molt so that the insect increases in size
while remaining in its immature state; after the
molt, the insect is still in a larval stage.

neuroendocrine systems

When the concentration of JH decreases,

metamorphosis occurs and the insect is
transformed into pupa.

In the absence of JH, the pupa molts and becomes

an adult. The nervous system regulates he
secretory activity of the corpora allata, and the
amount of JH decreases with successive molts.


Vertebrate endocrine system

In contrast to the invertebrate endocrine system,

the emphasis in the vertebrate endocrine system
iosn classical endocrine organs with many
physiological processes controlled by these

However, the nervous system still exerts an

influence over the endocrine system since some
of the peripheral endocrine organs are under the
control of the

anterior pituitary.

Vertebrate endocrine system

During vertebrate evolution, there has been much

conservation in terms of endocrine function.

This means that some hormones have found new roles

for example, the hormone thyroxine controls metabolic
rate in mammals, but in amphibians it is essential for
the metamorphosis from tadpole to adult frog.

In addition to this, as the vertebrates have evolved, new

endocrine organs have emerged, such as the
parathyroid glands that control Ca2+ levels which first
appeared in the teleosts (bony fish.

Vertebrate endocrine system

The typical vertebrate endocrine system is seen

to consist of three principal glands or groups of

the hypothalamus;

the pituitary gland;

peripheral endocrine glands

The hypothalamus and

pituitary gland

The hypothalamus is part of the vertebrate brain and sits

beneath the thalamus. Its main function is as an interface
between the nervous and endocrine systems.

A major role of the hypothalamus is to control the

pituitary gland - the so-called master gland.

The secretions of the hypothalamus are transported to

the pituitary gland.

There are two types of secretions - those that are

released into the posterior pituitary gland and those
released into the anterior pituitary gland.

The hypothalamus and

pituitary gland

Hormones secreted by the hypothalamus travel down axons

extending from the hypothalamus to the posterior pituitary
gland (the neurohypophysis).

This region has a typical neuroendocrine role in that

hormones are released from the posterior pituitary gland
directly into the circulation.

In mammals, the hormones released from the posterior

pituitary gland are ADH (also known as vasopressin),
which controls water absorption in the kidney, and oxytocin,
which stimulates uterine smooth muscle contraction and
milk ejection from the mammary glands.

The hypothalamus and

pituitary gland

Another important group of secretions produced by the

hypothalamus are the releasing hormones.

These substances are released from axon terminals into

capillaries which then pass to the anterior pituitary
gland (adenohypophysis).

Releasing hormones are thus delivered to the anterior

pituitary gland indirectly via the blood system, rather than
by direct release from axon terminals. The function of the
releasing hormones, as the name suggests, is to influence
the release of hormones from the anterior pituitary.

The hypothalamus and

pituitary gland

The hormones released from the anterior pituitary

then influence the secretions from other structures.

Alternatively, release of hormones may be inhibited

by release-inhibiting hormones secreted by the

It is essential that the plasma concentrations of all

the secretions in this system are maintained at
acceptable levels. The secretion levels are
controlled via a negative feedback mechanism

Hormones are
synthesized in the
cell bodies of the
ADH and oxytocin
are released from
the axon terminals
into the posterior
pituitary gland.

The releasing and

hormones are
released from
axon terminals
into capillaries and
are transported to
anterior pituitary
via the blood

Hypothalamic hormones and the

anterior pituitary hormones they
influence (Releasing hormone)
Hypothalamic hormone

Anterior Dituitaw hormone


Growth hormone-releasing
hormone (GHRH)

Growth hormone

Thyrotropin-releasing hormone

hormone (TSH)

Prolactin-releasing hormone


Luteinizing hormone-releasing
hormone (LHRH)

Leutenizing hormone

Follicle stimulating hormonereleasing hormone (FSHRHY

Follicle-stimulating hormone

hormone releasing hormone




Hypothalamic hormones and the anterior

pituitary hormones they
influence (Releasing-inhibiting hormone)

Hypothalamic hormone

Anterior Dituitaw hormone


Growth hormone releaseinhibiting hormone (GHRIH,


Growth hormone

Prolactin release-inhibiting
hormone (PRIH)


hormone release-inhibiting
hormone (MSHRIH)

release-inhibiting hormone

The hypothalamus and

pituitary gland

Growth hormone promotes growth in all vertebrates.

It has effects on carbohydrate, lipid and protein metabolism.

It also induces the liver to release a compound called

somatomedin which stimulates mitosis in bone tissue.

Thyrotropin releasing hormone stimulates the thyroid gland to

secrete thyroxine and triiodothyronine.

The secretions of the thyroid gland have a variety of effects - the

control of metabolic rate in mammals and the control of
metamorphosis in amphibians

The hypothalamus and

pituitary gland

Prolactin is a hormone whicihs well known for its

effects on reproductive tissue, and its stimulatory
effect on milk production.

However, it also has other effects, influencing water

and Na' exchanges in amphibians.

Follicle-stimulating and luteinizing hormones (FSH and

LH) affect the gonads. FSH promotes gamete (i.e. egg
and sperm) development, whilst LH, amongst many
other functions, promotes steroid production.

The hypothalamus and

pituitary gland

Melanocyte-stimulating hormone is involved

in physiological color change in somoef the lower
vertebrates, e.g. amphibianasn d fish, whilst in
some higher vertebrates it may be involved in
osmotic and ionic regulatory processes.

Adrenocorticotropic hormone stimulates the

adrenal cortex to release the hormones produced
there (i.e. the mineralocorticoids, such as