INTRODUCTION TO ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY

The Endocrine System

The secretion of Hormones directly into the circulatory system is a collection of glands that are known as the ENDOCRINE SYSTEM – its function is varied and impacts on various cells and tissues in the body.

The Endocrine system is also responsible for the process of apoptosis (Apoptosis (from Ancient Greek ἀπόπτωσιςapóptōsis, “falling off”) is a form of programmed cell death that occurs in multicellular organisms (Wikipedia) – this is effect is the controlled process of cell death and removal of unwanted cells.  This is a normal process and allows for continued development renewal of cells and their maintenance.  Additionally, the Endocrine system regulates activities of the immune system.

The system comprises the following endocrine glands:

  • Thyroid
  • Parathyroid
  • Pituitary
  • Pineal
  • Adrenal

These glands secrete hormones (which effect nearly every function, cell, and organ in the body) – the hormones are in “messenger” molecules and are secreted into the interstitial fluid.

Other organs and tissues containing cells that secret hormones are the stomach, placenta, small intestine, heart, skin, thymus, adipose tissue, kidneys, pancreas, liver, hypothalamus, testes, and ovaries.

The ENDOCRINE System also has the function of influencing other systems and processes in the body – they are:

  • The Reproductive system
  • Sexual Function
  • Emotional Behaviour
  • Tissue development
  • Metabolic Rate
  • Growth
  • Development

Other organs and tissues containing cells that secret hormones are the stomach, placenta, small intestine, heart, skin, thymus, adipose tissue, kidneys, pancreas, liver, hypothalamus, testes, and ovaries.

The Endocrine system responses, unlike the nervous system, are generally slower – the processes it influences are slower e.g., cell growth.  The Nervous system is responsible for breathing which is a faster process.  However, these systems are complimentary and work in conjunction with each other to ensure the body functions correctly and properly.

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