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Within all the systems that make up the body, the endocrine system is that constituted by the hormones and the glands that produce them. The vast majority of the body’s processes – including reproduction, metabolism, growth and sleep – are the task of eight fundamental glands that act through chemical signals . Today we are going to show you interesting facts to know everything about the endocrine system
What is the endocrine system?
It is known as endocrine system or gland system of internal secretion to the set of tissues and organs of the human body (and other higher animals) responsible for the generation and distribution through the bloodstream of substances for the regulation of certain functions of the body , known as hormones .
Similar to the nervous system , the endocrine system is operated on the basis of impulses from a distance, but instead of being nervous (electrical), they are chemical. These chemical signals are the hormones, responsible for activating, regulating or inhibiting certain actions and processes of the organism, such as growth, tissue production, metabolism or the development and functioning of the reproductive organs, among others.
This hormonal system is composed of internal organs known as glands or endocrine organs , which generate their hormones and substances and release them into the body, either locally (such as skin glands) or internally (through the blood system). This includes organs such as the thymus or pancreas, or smaller structures such as the pituitary gland located in the brain.
In addition, this system is related to the nervous and digestive , among others, thus constituting a complex response network of the body, which for example, in stress situations, erotic or resting, generates various hormones to enhance the capabilities of the body.
Systems in the endocrine system
The endocrine system is the body’s system for hormone secretion. It consists of several systems:
- Endocrine Glands
- Enteroendocrine system consisting of cells in the gastrointestinal tract , which secrete hormones and neurotransmitters such as serotonin , histamine , glucagon , etc., which, however, are often mainly formed by hormone glands.
- The chromium refining system, which is present in several organs, and which partly consists of chromium salts .
- Neurosecretory system or neuroendocrine system , which is a system that connects the endocrine system to the nervous system , of which the hypothalamus-pituitary system and the pineal gland belong to the endocrine system.
Function of the endocrine system
The activity of the endocrine system affects each and every one of the cells of the organism, since it is responsible for maintaining the chemical balance and controlling the functioning of the different organs, in such a way that it participates, for example, in the regulation of the development and body growth, metabolization of nutrients, sexual function, mood, sleep, brain activity, etc.
All this is done through the production of hormones by a series of glands that are located in different parts of the body and that perform different functions of control and stimulation in the functioning of organs and tissues.However, its functions are basically three:
- Homeostasis: stimulates or inhibits the chemical processes that develop in the cells, maintaining the chemical balance of the organism.
- Reproduction: stimulates the maturation of the ovules and the production of sperm, both essential for human reproduction. In the case of women, she participates actively in preparing the uterus to start pregnancy, maintain it and induce labor, as well as enabling breastfeeding.
- Body development: controls and induces the development of the human being from the moment of conception, as well as the growth and development of the organism until reaching puberty and physical maturity. Source
Glands of the endocrine system
The endocrine system is made up of many glands and endocrine organs. The main ones are the following:
- Gland pineal . Also called epiphysis or conarium, it is at the base of the brain next to the insertion of the spinal cord, and is common to all vertebrates. It produces hormones responsible for sleep and circadian rhythms.
- Pituitary gland . Also known as the pituitary gland, it is responsible for secreting hormones necessary to regulate homeostasis, including tropic hormones that regulate other endocrine tissues. It is located at the base of the skull, in a bone chair of the sphenoid bone.
- Thyroid gland . Located just below the Adam’s apple, in the throat and on the trachea, it regulates the metabolism and nuances the sensitivity of the body to other hormones.
- Gland s adrenal is . Pyramidal, is in pairs on the kidneys, and is responsible for regulating responses to stress, secreting hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, which physically prepare the body for a dangerous situation.
- Timo . This is a lymphoid organ (of the immune system ) located in the torso, in front of the heart and behind the sternum.
- Pancreas . A larger organ, located in the abdomen, secretes digestive enzymes to contribute to the absorption of nutrients, and also hormones that regulate the metabolism of sugars (insulin and glucagon).
- Gonads . Ovaries and testes, for women and men respectively, are the organs where reproductive cells are generated and hormones that prepare sexual maturation during puberty.
- External glands . Those located on the skin, are responsible for lubricating and keep it cool, also spilling hormones that fulfill social roles and protection of the epidermis.
The hormones of the endocrine system
The endocrine system provides a chemical link between the hypothalamus of the brain and all organs that control metabolism , growth and sexual reproduction . The hormones are also used to regulate homeostasis .
One usually divides the hormones that are secreted into the body into four classes:
- Amino-derived hormones
- Lipid hormones and phospholipid hormones (sometimes included in the same group as amino-derived hormones)
- peptide Hormones
- steroid hormones
How long have humans known about the endocrine system?
Although the term endocrinology , the science that studies the endocrine system, is relatively modern, it is known that for 2000 years ago the ancient Chinese knew and studied these functions of the body. In the II century a. EC, Chinese doctors extracted sex hormones and pituitary through urine, through substances obtained from soap, all for medicinal purposes.
1500 years later, in Europe , Berthold observed that, when they were castrated , the chickens did not exhibit male behaviors.
The concept of internal secretion was established by Claude Bernard (1813 to 1878) to observe the pancreas poured into circulation a product that contributes to the regulation of the levels of sugar in the blood.
The first hormone that was isolated and then synthesized was insulin , which comes from the islets of Langerhans , located in the pancreas , an action achieved in 1921 by Frederick Banting and Charles Best. Source Source
We can disrupt our endocrine system
Disruptor or hormone disruptor also called endocrine disruptor or EDC, Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals , is a chemical substance, alien to the human body or animal species affected, capable of altering the hormonal balance of the organisms of a species, [ 1 ] that is, to generate the interruption of some physiological processes controlled by hormones , or to generate a response of greater or lesser intensity than usual.
They are very numerous and have very varied structures. They have a natural or artificial origin, and can act at very low doses on a great diversity of organisms. However, normally, when we speak of endocrine switches we refer to polluting substances, which can cause infertility or even sex changes in fish and invertebrates . In humans they do not have such a radical effect, but they do affect fertility and can cause small deformations such as ambiguous genitalia or testicles that do not go down into the scrotum.
The scientific community warns that chemical compounds of an artificial nature interfere in the human and animal metabolic systems , altering both growth and reproduction and causing diseases such as cancer .
Not all endocrine disruptor are bad some have good use example birth control pills has endocrine disruptors, they are also found in corticosteroids ised for treating cancer and psychiatric disorders medicines .
Most of the other endocrine disruprors are harmfuls example DDT (dichlorodifeniltricloroetano) is aninsecticide that began to be used after theSecond World War and is still used in certain regions of Asia in the fight againstmalaria and other diseases transmitted byinsects . This has shown to cause infertility in men.
Biphenyl polychlorides are a class of chlorinated compounds used in the refrigerants and lubricants industry. Which causes acne and different types of cancers.
Some others are
- PBDE (Polybrominated diphenyl ethers),
- PBB (Biphenyl polybromide)
- Phthalates (BBP, DBP, DEHP)
- Styrene. Source
The word hormone is not that old
The word ” hormone ” appears in the early twentieth when two English physiologists conclude that the secretions of the pancreas must be controlled by certain chemicals that they called “hormones.” Throughout the century, the term became widespread among researchers, who worked to find more hormones in the body.
The endocrine system has a central importance in many processes of our organism. Remember to keep control over your drinks, as well as to keep stress from being a stable part of your life. Your body will thank you.
Ben Greenstein; Diana F. Wood(2007). The Endocrine System at a Glance. 3rd Edition
Szlinder-Richert J, Barska I, Mazerski J, Usydus Z (May 2008). “Organochlorine pesticides in fish from the southern Baltic Sea: levels, bioaccumulation features and temporal trends during the 1995-2006 period”.
Vander A (2008). Vander’s Human Physiology: the mechanisms of body function. Boston: McGraw-Hill Higher Education
Sherwood, L. (1997). Human Physiology: From Cells to Systems. Wadsworth Pub Co