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Endocrine system facts for kids

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The endocrine system includes those organs of the body which produce hormones. It helps to regulate metabolism, growth and development, tissue function, and plays a part also in mood. The field of medicine that deals with disorders of endocrine glands is endocrinology.

In physiology, the endocrine system is a system of glands, each of which secretes a type of hormone directly into the bloodstream to regulate the body.

The endocrine system is in contrast to the exocrine system, which secretes its chemicals using ducts. The endocrine system is an information signal system like the nervous system, yet its effects and mechanism are different.

The endocrine system's effects are slow to start, and long-lasting in their response. The nervous system sends information quickly, and responses are generally short lived. Hormones are complex chemicals released from endocrine tissue into the bloodstream where they travel to target tissues and trigger a response.

Features of endocrine glands are, in general, they have no ducts, they have a good blood supply, and usually they have vacuoles or granules inside their cells, storing their hormones.

Endocrine glands and the hormones they secrete

Central nervous system

Endocrine central nervous en
Endocrine glands in the human head and neck and their hormones
  • Hypothalamus produces
    • Thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) Parvocellular neurosecretory neurons
    • Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) Neuroendocine cells of the Preoptic area
    • Growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH) Neuroendocrine neurons of the Arcuate nucleus
    • Corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) Parvocellular neurosecretory neurons
    • Vasopressin Parvocellular neurosecretory neurons
    • Somatostatin (SS; also GHIH, growth hormone-inhibiting hormone) Neuroendocrince cells of the Periventricular nucleus
    • Prolactin inhibiting hormone or PIH or Dopamine (DA) Dopamine neurons of the arcuate nucleus
    • Prolactin releasing hormone
  • Pituitary gland (hypophysis) produces
    • Anterior pituitary lobe (adenohypophysis)
      • Growth hormone (GH) Somatotropes
      • Prolactin (PRL) Lactotropes
      • Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH, corticotropin) Corticotropes
      • Lipotropin Corticotropes
      • Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH, thyrotropin) Thyrotropes
      • Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) Gonadotropes
      • Luteinizing hormone (LH) Gonadotropes
    • Posterior pituitary lobe (neurohypophysis)
      • Oxytocin Magnocellular neurosecretory cells
      • Vasopressin (AVP; also ADH, antidiuretic hormone) Magnocellular neurosecretory cells
    • Intermediate pituitary lobe (pars intermedia)
      • Melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH) Melanotroph


  • Thyroid produces
    • Triiodothyronine (T3), the potent form of thyroid hormone Thyroid epithelial cell
    • Thyroxine (T4), also known as tetraiodothyronine: it is a less active form of thyroid hormone (mainly) Thyroid epithelial cells
    • Calcitonin Parafollicular cells
  • Striated muscle produces

Alimentary system

Endocrine Alimentary system en
  • Stomach produces
    • Gastrin (mainly) G cells
    • Ghrelin P/D1 cells
    • Neuropeptide Y (NPY)
    • Secretin S cells
    • Somatostatin D cells
    • Histamine ECL cells
    • Endothelin X cells
  • Duodenum produces
    • Cholecystokinin I cells
  • Liver produces
    • Insulin-like growth factor (IGF) (mainly) Hepatocytes
    • Angiotensinogen Hepatocytes
    • Thrombopoietin Hepatocytes
  • Pancreas produces
    • Insulin (mainly) β Islet cells
    • Glucagon (also mainly) α Islet cells
    • Somatostatin δ Islet cells
    • Pancreatic polypeptide PP cells


  • Kidney produces
    • Renin (Primarily) Juxtaglomerular cells
    • Erythropoietin (EPO) Extraglomerular mesangial cells
    • Calcitriol (the active form of vitamin D3)
    • Thrombopoietin

Adrenal glands

Reproductive system

Endocrine reproductive system en



Calcium regulation


Endocrine miscelaneous en

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See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Sistema endocrino para niños

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