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Endocrine System

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Copyright The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. Permission required for reproduction or display.

Introduction
A. Theendocrinesystemismadeupofthecells,
tissues,andorgansthatsecretehormonesinto
bodyfluids.
B. Hormones diffuse into the bloodstream to act
targetcellssomedistanceaway.
C. Thebodyhastwokindsofglands,exocrine
(secretesproductsintoducts)andendocrine
(secreteproductsintobodyfluidstoaffect
targetcells).

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Copyright The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. Permission required for reproduction or display.

General Characteristics of the Endocrine


System
A. Theendocrinesystemsfunctionisto
communicatewithcellsusingchemicalscalled
hormones.
B. Endocrineglandsandtheirhormonesregulatea
numberofmetabolicprocesseswithincells,andthe
wholebody.

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Copyright The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. Permission required for reproduction or display.

C. Theiractionsareprecise,theyonlyaffect
specifictargetcells.
D. Endocrineglandsincludethepituitary gland,
thyroid gland, parathyroid glands, adrenal
glands, pancreas, and other hormone-
secreting glands and tissues.

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B. The thyroid gland: located just inferior to the larynx, it has two lobes that
give it the appearance of butterfly wings. It is the largest endocrine gland and it
releases thyroid hormones and calcitonin.
a. Thyroid hormone: T4 and T3, amino acid based hormones that contain iodine,
main function is to increase metabolic rate.
b. Calcitonin- reduces excessive levels of calcium ion in the blood by slowing
down osteoclast activity, actively secreted during childhood.
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C. The parathyroid gland: yellowish in color, lie posterior or the thyroid
gland. There are at least two pairs of glands but some may have as many as
four pairs. The hormone it releases is parathyroid hormone (PTH) which
has the opposite effect if calcitonin. It increase calcium ion levels in the
blood by either activating the osteoclast, stimulating the kidney to reabsorb
more calcium, or activation vitamin D production for calcium to be absorbed
from food.
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D. The adrenal (suprarenal) gland: These are two glands located
superiorly to the kidney and are actually two different glands within one
structure.

1. adrenal medulla: considered part of the autonomic nervous system, it


releases adrenaline or epinephrine to assist in the fight or flight response.
2. adrenal cortex: secretes steroids called corticosteroids. Aldosterone
(mineralocorticoid) is secreted in response to a decrease in blood volume or
blood pressure stimulating the kidneys to reabsorb more water or sodium.
Another group of hormones is called the glucocorticoids which include
cortisol. These hormones keep blood glucose levels high to maintain brain
activity during stressful situations. They can direct lymphocytes, or
decrease inflammation.
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F. The pancreas: located in the abdominal cavity it contains endocrine cells
called the islets of Langerhans that produce amino acid based hormones.
The cells release insulin which stimulates absorption of glucose by tissue
cells when blood glucose levels are high, and also releases glucagon that
stimulates the liver to release sugar into the blood when blood glucose
levels are low.
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G. The thymus: located in lower neck, anterior thorax, and posterior to the
sternum. It secretes amino acid based hormones called thymic hormones
like thymopoeitin and thymosin that stimulate T-lymphocytes to become
immunocompetent.
H. The gonads: testes and ovaries are organs that secret steroid sex
hormones. Androgens released by these glands are changed into
testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone. They maintain primary and
secondary sex characteristics and cells involved in reproduction.
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