The endocrine system

The endocrine system is made up of separate glands located in different parts of the body. Each gland makes chemical substances called hormones, which regulate and influence body processes such as growth, development, metabolism, reproduction and responses to stress.

The endocrine system and the nervous system control and co-ordinate body functions and maintain the body's internal balanced state (homeostasis).

Endocrine glands are known as ductless glands because the hormones they secrete pour directly into the bloodstream (unlike exocrine glands, which pass their secretions into ducts, e.g. sebaceous glands).

Exocrine SystemDifferent Glands And The Target Function

Hormones are known as chemical messengers. They are released from the gland and carried by the bloodstream to their target organs. One gland may produce a number of different hormones that influence and control the activities of many organs. The responses in the target organ are usually slow and continue over a long period of time. Some endocrine glands control the function of other endocrine glands.

The pituitary gland controls the function of other glands and because of this it is known as the 'Master Gland'.

Table 2.3 Classification of endocrine glands

1 Gland Location

Hormone

Function I

Pituitary Cranium under

ACTH

Promotes development of

(Anterior) the brain

(Adrinocorticotropin)

the adrenal cortex; helps in conditions of stress

TSH (Thyroid-stimulating

Stimulates the thyroid to

hormone) thyrotropin

produce thyroxin

FSH (Follicle-stimulating

Stimulates growth and

hormone)

oestrogen production of ovarian follicles; stimulates growth of testes; promotes the development of sperm

GH or STH (Growth

Promotes growth of all

hormone)

body tissues

LH (Luteinising

Stimulates ovaries and

hormone)

the production of oestrogen and progesterone in females; stimulates testosterone in males

(Lactogenic hormone)

Stimulates secretion of

prolactin

milk by the breasts

Pituitary Base of the brain

ADH (Antidiuretic

Promotes reabsorption of

(Posterior)

hormone)

water in kidney tubules; reduces volume of urine

Oxytocin

Causes contraction of pregnant uterus. Stimulates flow of milk from breasts

Adrenal cortex Above the upper

Cortisol

Aids in metabolism; active

end of the kidney

to reduce stress

Aldosterone

Helps to regulate sodium and potassium levels in the blood

(Sex hormones)

Contribute to the secondary sexual characteristics in males

(continued )

(continued )

Body systems and the physiological and psychological effects of massage Table 2.3 (continued)

Gland

Location

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