Endocrine System Revision
Information can be sent around the body via nerves in the nervous system or hormones in the endocrine system. Hormones are chemicals produced and released by endocrine glands that bring about specific, long-lasting effects in the body.
The endocrine system consists of many endocrine glands that release specific hormones into the blood. The hormones are transported by the blood to particular cells in target organs where they produce an effect.
Hormones generally control things that require constant adjustment. Their effects are slow but relatively long-lasting.
Endocrine glands in the human body:
- Pituitary Gland– The pituitary gland (know as the ‘master gland’) releases lots of hormones that regulate body conditions and also some that act on other glands. This causes specific hormones to be released and a change to occur, e.g. releases thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) that causes the thyroid to release thyroxine.
- Thyroid– Produces thyroxine that helps regulate rate of metabolism, among other things.
- Pancreas– Produces insulin which is important in controlling blood glucose levels.
- Adrenal Gland– Produces adrenaline which is involved in fight or flight responses.
- Ovaries– Produces oestrogen in females which is a vital part of the menstrual cycle.
- Testes– Produces testosterone in males which controls puberty and sperm production.
Hormones vs. Nerves
Hormones and nerves are both important methods of transporting messages around the body but are very different:
- Nerves are made up of neurones that carry electrical impulses (and chemical neurotransmitter at synapses) whereas hormones are chemicals that are transported in the blood.
- Nerves are used to transport messages that require a rapid response because they work much quicker than hormones.
- Hormones are used when a message requires a long response because nerve impulses only act for a very short time but hormones continue creating a response until they get broken down.
- Nerves target very specific areas but hormones are much more general.
Endocrine System Example Questions
Question 1: What is the role of the pituitary gland?
- Releases hormones that regulate body conditions
- Releases hormones that act on other glands.
Question 2: Label this diagram showing some of the different glands in the male human body.
- Pituitary Gland
- Adrenal Gland
Question 3: State 2 differences between message transport by nerves and by hormones.
Any 2 from:
- Nerves transport information quicker than hormones.
- Nerves carry electrical impulses, hormones are chemical.
- Hormones produce long responses, nerves produce short term responses.
- Nerves target more specific areas than hormones.
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