Part E: Hormone Action


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Hormones produced by the pituitary gland

Although there are a number of different hormones they can be split into two main types: hormones that tell the pituitary to switch on production of a hormone a releasing hormone hormones that tell the pituitary to switch off production of a hormone an inhibiting hormone. Hormones produced by other glands in the body In total more than hormones or hormone-like substances have been discovered. It promotes normal metabolism, maintains blood sugar levels and blood pressure, provides resistance to stress and acts as an anti-inflammatory agent.


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It also plays a part in regulation of fluid balance in the body. Thyroxine Thyroid Thyroxine controls many body functions, including heart rate, temperature and metabolism. It also plays a role in the metabolism of calcium in the body. Oestrogen Ovaries Oestrogen facilitates growth of the tissues of the sex organs and other tissues related to reproduction. Oestrogen also acts to strengthen bones and has a protective effect on the heart. Progesterone Ovaries Progesterone promotes the changes in the uterus that occur in preparation for the implantation of a fertilised ovum and prepares the breasts for milk production.

Testosterone Testes Testosterone is responsible for the characteristics of the masculine body, including hair growth on the face and body and muscle development. Testosterone is essential for the production of sperm and also acts to strengthen bones.

I. Introduction

Also in this section What is the pituitary gland? Pituitary conditions Symptoms, diagnosis and tests Treatments for pituitary conditions Living with a pituitary condition Adrenal insufficiency and adrenal crisis Publications Related links Research Endocrine glands Hormones Webinars Membership. Stimulates the adrenal gland to produce a hormone called cortisol. Stimulates the thyroid gland to secrete its own hormone, which is called thyroxine. Controls reproductive functioning and sexual characteristics.

Stimulates the breasts to produce milk. Stimulates growth and repair. Controls the blood fluid and mineral levels in the body by affecting water retention by the kidneys. Cortisol has a number of functions. Thyroxine controls many body functions, including heart rate, temperature and metabolism. Oestrogen facilitates growth of the tissues of the sex organs and other tissues related to reproduction. Progesterone promotes the changes in the uterus that occur in preparation for the implantation of a fertilised ovum and prepares the breasts for milk production.

The roles of hormones in selecting target cells and delivering the hormonal message. Images from Purves et al. Steroids are lipids derived from cholesterol. Testosterone is the male sex hormone. Estradiol, similar in structure to testosterone, is responsible for many female sex characteristics. Steroid hormones are secreted by the gonads , adrenal cortex, and placenta. Structure of some steroid hormones and their pathways of formation. Peptides are short chains of amino acids ; most hormones are peptides.

They are secreted by the pituitary , parathyroid, heart , stomach , liver, and kidneys. Amines are derived from the amino acid tyrosine and are secreted from the thyroid and the adrenal medulla. Solubility of the various hormone classes varies.

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Steroid hormones are derived from cholesterol by a biochemical reaction series. Defects along this series often lead to hormonal imbalances with serious consequences. Once synthesized, steroid hormones pass into the bloodstream; they are not stored by cells, and the rate of synthesis controls them. Peptide hormones are synthesized as precursor molecules and processed by the endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi where they are stored in secretory granules.

When needed, the granules are dumped into the bloodstream. Different hormones can often be made from the same precursor molecule by cleaving it with a different enzyme. Amine hormones notably epinephrine are stored as granules in the cytoplasm until needed.

Most animals with well-developed nervous and circulatory systems have an endocrine system. Most of the similarities among the endocrine systems of crustaceans, arthropods, and vertebrates are examples of convergent evolution. The vertebrate endocrine system consists of glands pituitary, thyroid, adrenal , and diffuse cell groups scattered in epithelial tissues. More than fifty different hormones are secreted.

Endocrine glands arise during development for all three embryologic tissue layers endoderm , mesoderm , ectoderm. The type of endocrine product is determined by which tissue layer a gland originated in. Glands of ectodermal and endodermal origin produce peptide and amine hormones; mesodermal-origin glands secrete hormones based on lipids. The endocrine system uses cycles and negative feedback to regulate physiological functions. Negative feedback regulates the secretion of almost every hormone. Cycles of secretion maintain physiological and homeostatic control.

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Hormones | Anatomy and Physiology II

These cycles can range from hours to months in duration. Negative feedback in the thyroxine release reflex. Image from Purves et al. The endocrine system acts by releasing hormones that in turn trigger actions in specific target cells. Receptors on target cell membranes bind only to one type of hormone. More than fifty human hormones have been identified; all act by binding to receptor molecules.

Thyroid hormones

The binding hormone changes the shape of the receptor causing the response to the hormone. There are two mechanisms of hormone action on all target cells. Nonsteroid hormones water soluble do not enter the cell but bind to plasma membrane receptors, generating a chemical signal second messenger inside the target cell. Five different second messenger chemicals, including cyclic AMP have been identified. Second messengers activate other intracellular chemicals to produce the target cell response.

The action of nonsteroid hormones. The second mechanism involves steroid hormones, which pass through the plasma membrane and act in a two step process. Steroid hormones bind, once inside the cell, to the nuclear membrane receptors, producing an activated hormone-receptor complex. The activated hormone-receptor complex binds to DNA and activates specific genes, increasing production of proteins.


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  • The action of steroid hormones. The pituitary gland often called the master gland is located in a small bony cavity at the base of the brain.

    A stalk links the pituitary to the hypothalamus , which controls release of pituitary hormones. The pituitary gland has two lobes: the anterior and posterior lobes. The anterior pituitary is glandular. The endocrine system in females and males. The hypothalamus contains neurons that control releases from the anterior pituitary. Seven hypothalamic hormones are released into a portal system connecting the hypothalamus and pituitary, and cause targets in the pituitary to release eight hormones. The location and roles of the hypothalamus and pituitary glands.

    Growth hormone GH is a peptide anterior pituitary hormone essential for growth.

    GH-releasing hormone stimulates release of GH. GH-inhibiting hormone suppresses the release of GH. The hypothalamus maintains homeostatic levels of GH. Cells under the action of GH increase in size hypertrophy and number hyperplasia. GH also causes increase in bone length and thickness by deposition of cartilage at the ends of bones. During adolescence, sex hormones cause replacement of cartilage by bone, halting further bone growth even though GH is still present. Too little or two much GH can cause dwarfism or gigantism, respectively.

    Hypothalamus receptors monitor blood levels of thyroid hormones. Low blood levels of Thyroid-stimulating hormone TSH cause the release of TSH-releasing hormone from the hypothalamus, which in turn causes the release of TSH from the anterior pituitary.

    Part E: Hormone Action Part E: Hormone Action
    Part E: Hormone Action Part E: Hormone Action
    Part E: Hormone Action Part E: Hormone Action
    Part E: Hormone Action Part E: Hormone Action
    Part E: Hormone Action Part E: Hormone Action
    Part E: Hormone Action Part E: Hormone Action

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