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Endocrine system


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Endocrine signalling
Cellular communication at a distance, using molecules usually carried in the blood or lymph.
Paracrine signalling
Cellular communication at short distance, for example across a synapse.
Autocrine signalling
Signals secreted from and received by the same cell, used by many growth factors.
Pituitary gland
Gland suspended inferior to the corpus callosum. Communicates with the hypothalamus to secrete a variety of hormones
Anterior pituitary
Part of the pituitary which receives hypothalamic hormones via a portal blood system and secretes TSH, ACTH, GnRH and various other hormones
Posterior pituitary
Part of the pituitary which stores and secretes oxytocin and antidiuretic hormone (secreted by the hypothalamus).
Oxytocin
Hormone secreted by the hypothalamus and stored in the posterior pituitary; involved in parturition and lactogenesis II as well as sexual and social behaviour.
Antidiuretic hormone
Hormone secreted by the hypothalamus and stored in the posterior pituitary; reduces fluid filtered by the kidneys by increased expression of aquaporin in the collecting tubules.
Growth hormone
Hormone secreted by the anterior pituitary; causes growth and cell division throughout the body.
Prolactin
Hormone secreted by the anterior pituitary; stimulates lactogenesis I.
Follicle stimulating hormone
Hormone secreted by the anterior pituitary; leads to the development of ovarian follicles and the production of androgen binding protein in males
Luteinizing hormone
Hormone secreted by the anterior pituitary; important in ovulation and testosterone production in males
Thyroid stimulating hormone
Hormone secreted by the anterior pituitary; necessary for thyroid growth and T3 (triiodothyronine) production.
Adrenocorticotropic hormone
Hormone secreted by the anterior pituitary; stimulates secretion of corticosteroids in the adrenal cortex.
Pineal gland
Melatonin-secreting endocrine gland located at the posterior aspect of the thalamus.
Thyroid gland
Endocrine gland inferior to the thyroid cartilage of the larynx; secretes a range of hormones involved in metabolism, erythropoiesis and catecholamine sensitivity.
Pancreas
Mixed gland posterior to the duodenum and stomach which secretes digestive enzymes, insulin, glucagon and somatostatin..
Insulin
Hormone secreted by the pancreas; lowers blood glucose levels by multiple means.
Glucagon
Hormone secreted by the pancreas; increases blood glucose levels by a number of means.
Somatostatin
Hormone secreted by the pancreas; affects digestive function of the pancreas.
Adrenal glands
Endocrine glands on the superior aspect of the kidney, each consisting of three cortical layers and a medulla.
Glucocorticoids
Group of hormones secreted by the adrenal cortex; involved in glucose metabolism (cortisol), immune function (cortisol), renal function (aldosterone) and sexual function (DHEA).
Dehydroepiandrosterone
Androgen secreted by the adrenal cortex among other sex steroids; important in puberty and as a testosterone and oestrogen precursor.
Adrenaline
Catecholamine hormone secreted by the adrenal medulla; acts mainly on β receptors and stimulates the sympathetic nervous system.
Noradrenaline
Catecholamine hormone secreted by the adrenal medulla; acts mainly on α receptors and stimulates the sympathetic nervous system.
Testes
Mixed glands responsible for testosterone production, spermatogenesis and spermiogenesis
Testosterone
Androgen secreted by the testes; involved in the development of male reproductive tissues, sperm maturation, and secondary sexual characteristics.
Ovaries
Mixed glands responsible for oestrogen production and oogenesis
Estradiol
Oestrogen secreted in the ovaries; has various functions including causing development of female sexual tissues and regulating female reproductive function.
Progesterone
Steroid secreted in the ovaries; involved in the menstrual cycle and pregnancy.
Islets of Langerhans
Endocrine structures within the pancreas
Ghrelin
Gastrointestinal hormone which acts to increase appetite
Leptin
Anorexigenic (appetite-reducing) hormone released by adipose tissue
Parathyroid hormone
Hormone secreted by the parathyroid glands; plays and important role in calcium metabolism
Zona glomerulosa
Most superficial region of the adrenal cortex: secretes mineralocorticoids (such as aldosterone)
Zona fasciculata
Glucocorticoid (eg. cortisol)-secreting region of the adrenal cortex
Zona reticularis
Deep region of the adrenal cortex: secretes androgen precursors such as DHEA
Adrenal medulla
Region of the adrenal gland which secretes catecholamines (eg. adrenaline)
Triiodothyronine
Active hormone produced by the thyroid gland - regulates total metabolic rate, erythropoiesis and catecholamine sensitivity
Gonadotropin-releasing hormone
Hypothalamic releasing hormone; stimulates the release of FSH and LH by the anterior pituitary
Corticotropin-releasing hormone
Hypothalamic hormone; stimulates the release of ACTH by the anterior pituitary
Thyrotropin-releasing hormone
Hypothalamic hormone; stimulates the release of TSH by the anterior pituitary