What Is Endocrinology

Endocrinology is a biology branch that deals with the endocrine system, the diseases that affect it, the specific secretion of hormones and the incorporation of procedural events like the creation, growth and differentiation of metabolism, respiration, movement, excretion and reproduction systems and their dependency on chemical signals, synthesis and secretion by cells. The endocrine system is an organization of hormonal glands which secretes a different type of hormone into the blood stream directly to regulate processes in the body. It is the direct opposite of the exocrine system that secretes chemicals into the body through ducts. Much like the nervous system, the endocrine system is an information signal highway in the body but its mechanisms and effects are vastly different from the nervous system.

The system is made up of several glands in the body all of which are located in all over the body. These hormones have numerous functions and effects on the body. These hormones target different organs in the body and at times they act on a single organ. These hormones achieve their effects on the desired organs by binding on the receptors in the specific organ much like the how the nervous system behaves. There are two basic parts to a receptor as noted by Baulieu. These are:

  • A recognition spot where the hormone will bind itself.
  • An effector spot which is responsible for hurrying up the adjustment course of cellular functions.

There are three groups of hormones produced by the endocrine system. These are:

Amines

These are got from single amino acids and they include norepinephrine and dopamine, all of which originate from tyrosine. The thyroid hormones make up the subclass of amines owing to the fact that they are derived from an amalgamation of two tyrosine amino acid remnants.

Peptide and Protein

These constitute of three to 200 amino acids remnants having a molecular weight of 30, 000. The pituitary gland is responsible for the secretion of this class of hormones (peptide) while the adipocytes are responsible for release of the lepin hormone. Insulin is released from the liver while the stomach releases ghrelin.

Steroid

Steroid based hormones are derived from parent compounds namely cholesterol. There are five groups of steroids in mammals grouped according to the receptors that they bind themselves to. These are:

  • Glucocorticoids
  • Mineralocorticoids
  • Androgens
  • Estrogens
  • Progestagens

The clinical aspect of endocrinology focuses mainly on the endocrine organs although all the organs in the body secrete hormones. Therefore the field focuses only on those organs whose sole purpose is to secrete hormones. Endocrinology therefore focuses on organs such as the pituitary glands, thyroid, adrenals, pancreas ovaries and testes.

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