Function And Secretion

Hormones influence almost every cell and organ in our bodies. Hormones are substances secreted by cells that act to regulate the activity of other cells in the body. Hormones have many functions. For example, hormones regulate growth, development, behavior, and reproduction. They also maintain homeostasis, regulate metabolism and water and mineral balance, and respond to external stimuli.

Hormones are made and secreted by endocrine (EN-doh-KRlN) glands. Endocrine glands are ductless organs that secrete hormones either into the bloodstream or the fluid around cells (extracellular fluid). Specialized cells in the brain, stomach, small intestine, liver, heart, and other organs also make and release hormones. The endocrine glands and specialized cells that secrete hormones are collectively called the endocrine system.

Some endocrine glands, such as the pancreas, are also exocrine (EKS-oh-KRlN) glands. Exocrine glands secrete substances through ducts (tubelike structures). These substances can include water, enzymes, and mucus. The ducts transport the substances to specific locations inside and outside the body. Sweat glands, mucous glands, salivary glands, and other digestive glands are examples of exocrine glands.


• State the major functions of hormones.

• Differentiate between endocrine and exocrine glands.

• Compare the structure of amino acid-based hormones with the structure of steroid hormones.

• Compare how amino acid-based hormones act on their target cells with how steroid or thyroid hormones act on their target cells.

• Relate how neuropeptides and prostaglandins act like hormones.

vocabulary hormone endocrine gland endocrine system exocrine gland amino acid-based hormone steroid hormone target cell receptor second messenger neuropeptide prostaglandin

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