Sie sind auf Seite 1von 1

THE ENDOCRINE SYSTEM

The human body has an amazingly complex array of systems,


including the circulatory, digestive, and muscular systems,
and each has important functions. In order to operate properly,
all of the systems in the body must work together. This
means that the body can regulate itself and that the many
organs that make up these systems can communicate with
one another.
The body has two systems for control and communication.
One of these is the nervous system, which consists of thebrain, spinal cord, and nerves. The nervous system
sends
and receives information through nerve cells (neurons) as
electrical impulses. A nerve impulse can travel as fast as 100 meters/second (m/sec), and it targets a specific
part
of the body, such as a muscle. The other control system is
the endocrine system. It consists of a group of organs called
endocrine glands, which are located in various parts of the
body. Endocrine glands release chemical messengers called
hormones that travel through the blood. Because hormones
take time to travel through the circulatory system, a response
by the endocrine system takes much longer than one by the
nervous system. However, hormones can travel everywhere in
the body. For this reason, hormones control those responses
that are generalized and longer lasting. These responses
include growth, reproduction, metabolic rate, blood glucose
levels, and salt and water balance. Although the nervous and
endocrine systems are generally discussed separately, it is
helpful to think of them as different aspects of a single control
system. The nervous system is for immediate and specific
responses, and the endocrine system is for slower, long-term,
general types of responses.
Often the two systems can produce the same response,
and they may even utilize the same chemicals. For example,
both systems produce the chemical epinephrine, also called
adrenaline. When a person is startled or frightened, certain
nerve cells release epinephrine, which sends information to
internal organs. In the nervous system, epinephrine serves
as a neurotransmitter, a chemical that stimulates activity in
adjacent neurons. As a result of stimulation by epinephrine,
the heart rate increases, the brain becomes alert, blood flow
to internal organs decreases, and more blood is sent to the
muscles. This response, known as the fight-or-flight response,
prepares the body for danger. The neurons have only a small
amount of epinephrine present at any given moment, and
it is quickly depleted. This small amount is helpful for an
instant response. The body, however, cannot maintain this
aroused state for more than a few minutes on the neurons
supply of epinephrine. Each cell must produce more of the
neurotransmitter before it can once again send a signal to
the organ.

From : The Endocrine System.2009. Rushton,Lynette.Infobise Publishing