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admin | Exercise For Abdomen | 15.09.2015
Endocrinology is the specialty that studies the endocrine glands, their secretions, and related disorders. Exocrine glands also secrete special substances into ducts that open onto the body’s external or internal surfaces. Endocrine glands (ductless glands, glands of internal secretion) secrete hormones directly into the bloodstream, where they are transported throughout the body.
Hormones may be produced in response to nervous stimulation, the level of specific substances in the blood, or other hormones. The endocrine system provides a mechanism for the regulation, integration, and coordination of all body cells, organs, and systems. The glands of the endocrine system include the pituitary, thyroid, parathyroid, adrenal, and pineal. Key Concept Functions of the endocrine system include regulation of growth and maturation, metabolism, and reproduction. In the past, theorists believed that the pituitary itself secreted hormones needed for all vital body functions. The hypothalamus is a tiny but complex portion of the brain, attached to the pituitary by means of the infundibular (hypophyseal) stalk.
The anterior lobe of the pituitary, also called the adenohypophysis,releases several hormones (Table 20-3). Thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH), also from the parvocellular neurosecretory neurons (thyrotropes) of the hypothalamus, causes release of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH or thyrotropin) from the pituitary, as well as the release of prolactin.
FIGURE 20-2 · The pituitary gland, the relationship of the hypothalamus to pituitary action, and the hormones secreted by the anterior; middle, and posterior pituitary lobes.
The hormone known as growth hormone (GH), human growth hormone (hGH), or somatotropin is produced by somatotropic cells and released from the anterior pituitary.
Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) secreted in the neuroendocrine cells of the preoptic area causes the anterior pituitary to secrete two hormones called gonadotropins that stimulate the sex glands (gonads) in the body.


Exocrine glands usually secrete substances that serve a protective or functional purpose, not always 100% hormones. The main functions of the endocrine system are regulation of growth, maturation, metabolism, and reproduction. In addition, several organs that are not exclusively endocrine glands also contain cells that secrete hormones. However, research has shown that “pituitary hormones” are either secreted by—or their secretion is directly controlled by— the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is considered the “master controller” or the “master gland.” Specialized cells in the hypothalamus release hormones that either inhibit release or promote release of other hormones from the anterior lobe of the pituitary. Many of these hormones are called glycoproteins because they are made of carbohydrates and proteins.
Corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) from the parvocellular neurosecretory neurons (corticotropes) of the hypothalamus causes the release of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH or corticotropin) from the anterior lobe of the pituitary gland.
TSH stimulates the thyroid gland to produce and to secrete thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) (discussed later in this topic).
This hormone is stimulated by the release of growth hormone-releasing hormone (GRH or GHRH) by the hypothalamus. In men, LH stimulates the production of testosterone and may be called interstitial cell-stimulating hormone (ICSH).
Prolactin (PRL), stimulated by prolactin-releasing hormone (PRH), and secreted by lactotropic cells, is a hormone secreted by the anterior lobe of the pituitary that stimulates milk production in women following pregnancy. Lipotropin (also produced by corticotropes) influences lipolysis (breaking down of fats) and steroidogenesis (production of steroids, as in the adrenals), and stimulates the melanocytes to produce melanin. Endocrine glands are located throughout the body and each contains a group of specialized cells that secrete hormones in response to body signals. These hypothalamic hormones are described as releasing hormones or inhibiting hormones (Table 20-2).


The hypothalamus controls the adenohypophysis; therefore, neural commands release these hormones. ACTH stimulates the adrenal cortex to produce glucocorticoids and androgens (corticosteroids)— such as cortisol—which are vital in metabolizing carbohydrates. The hypothalamus also functions to inhibit TSH and GH, by releasing growth hormone inhibiting hormone (GHIH).
ICSH influences the secretion of testosterone and other sex hormones from specialized areas in the testes.
These lobes are sometimes classified as two separate glands because their functions and embryonic development are very different. Five of these hormones (the tropic hormones) control the growth, development, and proper functioning of other endocrine glands. It assists with the movement of amino acids into tissue cells and the transformation of amino acids into proteins that the body needs. Too much or too little of a particular hormone interferes with or counteracts the actions of other hormones.
In addition, specialized hormones are secreted in such diverse organs of the body as the gastrointestinal tract, the kidneys, and the heart.
It aids in the release of fatty acids from adipose (fat) tissue so that they can be used for energy.
The following sections describe the more specific locations of these glands and organs, the hormones they produce, and hormonal actions. When sufficient amounts of GH and TSH have been released, the hypothalamus secretes GHIH (discussed in the previous paragraph) to inhibit further release of growth hormone.



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