The body secretes and circulates 50 different hormones to different organs in the body. Hormones are the chemical substances that coordinate the activities of living organism growth. They are secreted through the endocrine glands and travel through the bloodstream to different organs in the body to function properly. When there is an excessive quantity or an reduced quantity of hormones being produced, it can cause the body to malfunction and develop chronic illnesses.
In neuroendocrinology, an endocrine gland can’t make a hormone without activation from a pituitary-stimulating hormone. The pituitary-stimulating hormone helps regulate hormones by secreting them to the endocrine glands. The pituitary gland is known as the “master gland” since it controls the activity of the other endocrine glands and it consists of 3 parts known as the anterior, intermediate and posterior lobes.
The anterior pituitary gland is located in the sella turcica and is controlled by the hypothalamus in the brain. It secretes a quantity of peptides and glycoprotein hormones that help regulate the growth, metabolism, reproduction and stress response. The anterior pituitary gland produces 6 hormones that circulate to their respective targets in the body.
The intermediate lobe is composed of a homogeneous population of the endocrine cells, the melanotrophs and secretes several bioactive peptides. It contains very few blood vessels and can be virtually avascular. The melanotrophs are richly supplied by nerve fibers that originate from the hypothalamus.
The posterior lobe is similar to the anterior lobe since they both control endocrine function and the body’s hormonal response to the environment. The hypothalamus receives neural signals from the brain and secretes polypeptide and neuropeptide hormones for storage in the posterior lobe until they are ready to be released. The hormones in the posterior lobe are in charge of regulating water retention and inducing uterine contractions.
When an endocrine gland synthesizes a hormone, it is released into circulation and bound to as a protein. Hormones attach themselves to proteins but they can’t bind to hormone receptors. So what a hormone needs to do is to lose its binding protein to become a “free-fraction” hormone. Studies have stated that a fraction of a hormone that is free is called in vitro and it is equivalent to the fraction of a hormone that is free and available to be transported into tissues are called in vivo. Free-fraction hormones make up less than 1% of all circulating hormones since they don’t impact the hypothalamus-pituitary feedback loop.
Hormones are metabolized by hepatic and microbiome biotransformation pathways into various hormone metabolites. Hormone metabolites have their own impact on cell receptors, studies have shown that this impact is not fully understood yet but hormone metabolites are not a reflection of direct endocrine gland production but it can be metabolized in the liver as well. Hormone metabolites can bind to hormone receptors or can be eliminated by renal or fecal clearance pathways.
All in all, the body secretes and circulates 50 different hormones to different organs in the body. These hormones are chemically produced in the body and keep an eye on what each of the different organs is doing. It is important that the hormone receptors are functioning properly so that an individual is feeling good both inside and out. If there is a hormonal imbalance in the body, it can cause dysfunction and chronic illnesses to a person.
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The information herein on "Functional Endocrinology: Understanding Hormones From the Pituitary to the Receptor Sites" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, or licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.
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