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BIO 156

Chapter 13
The Endocrine System
Principles of Endocrinology

The endocrine system produces hormones
that are transported in the blood to distant
sites where they influence many functions.

Hormones affect five vital aspects of our

Growth and development
Energy production, storage, and use
The Human
Endocrine System
• Target cells contain receptors for
specific hormones.

• Hormones stimulate the synthesis and
release of other hormones or activate
cellular processes.
– Three types of hormones are produced in
the body:
• Steroids
• Proteins and polypeptides
• Amines
• Hormone secretion is often controlled by
negative feedback mechanisms.

• Most hormones undergo periodic
fluctuations in their release.

• The chemical nature of a hormone
determines how it is transported in the
blood and how it acts on cells.
The Pituitary and Hypothalamus
The pituitary is a pea-sized gland suspended from
the hypothalamus by a thin stalk.

It consists of two parts:

The anterior pituitary
The posterior pituitary
Hormones of the Pituitary Gland
Growth Hormone Secretion in Adults

Dwarfism Giantism
Thyroid Stimulating
Hormone (TSH)
•Main function is
stimulating the
breakdown of glucose.
Adrenocorticotropic Hormone
Prolactin Secretion
The posterior pituitary
secretes two
1. Antidiuretic
hormone increases
the water
absorption in the
– Oxytocin facilitates
birth and stimulates
milk let-down.
The Thyroid Gland

The thyroid gland located
in the neck
on either side of the
trachea near its junction
with the larynx.

The thyroid produces
three hormones:

Thyroxine (T4)
• Thyroxine and triiodothyronine accelerate the
breakdown of glucose and stimulate growth and

• Calcitonin decreases blood levels of calcium.
The Parathyroid Glands
• The parathyroid glands produce the hormone
parathomone (PTH).
– PTH increases blood calcium levels.
The Pancreas
The pancreas produces two hormones, insulin and
glucagon, from the islets of Langerhans.
• Insulin is a glucose-
storage hormone and is
produced by the beta
cells. Insulin causes
blood sugar levels to
decline rapidly after a

• Glucagon increases
blood levels of glucose,
thus opposing the
actions of insulin.
• Diabetes mellitus is a disease resulting
from an insulin deficiency or a decrease
in tissue sensitivity to insulin.
– Diabetes has two principal forms:
• Type I, or early-onset diabetes, may be
caused by an autoimmune reaction that
destroys the beta cells of the pancreas. It can
be treated by insulin injections.
• Type II, or late-onset diabetes, results from a
reduction in the number of insulin receptors on
target cells. It is caused by obesity and genetic
factors and can often be treated successfully by
dietary management.
The Adrenal Glands

The adrenal glands
lie atop the kidneys
and consist of an
inner and outer
regions, both of which
produce hormones:

The adrenal medulla
The adrenal cortex
• The adrenal medulla produces stress
– Adrenalin and noradrenalin stimulate heart rate
and breathing, elevate blood glucose levels,
constrict blood vessels in the intestine, and dilate
blood vessels in the muscles.
• The adrenal cortex produces three
types of hormones with markedly
different functions.
– Glucocorticoids, mineralocorticoids, and
sex steroids.
• Glucocorticoids affect carbohydrate metabolism
and tend to raise blood glucose levels. The
principal glucocorticoid is cortisol.
• The chief mineralocorticoid is aldosterone. It
acts on the kidneys, sweat glands, and salivary
glands causing sodium and water retention and
potassium excretion.
• The sex steroids are identical to those
produced by the ovaries and testes
Health and Homeostasis
• The endocrine system is sensitive to
outside factors.
• Stress can lead to an imbalance in the
adrenal hormones.
• Toxic pollutants can affect hormonal
End of Chapter 13