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Lecture 19 Endocrine System

KK Chapter 15, Hildebrand Chapter 20

Information Systems in Vertebrates

Endocrine System - chemical signals (hormones) from the endocrine glands are distributed by the bloodvascular system to target tissues to regulate the relatively slow processes of growth, development and homeostasis. Nervous System - receives signals from sense organs, and transmits them to muscles, to control movement.

Thyroid Gland
Thyroid glands originate as a ventral evagination of the pharynx, in the vicinity of the gill pouches. The thyroid hormones are permissive, allowing target tissues to respond to other stimuli. Thyroid hormones include thyroxine, and they effect metabolic rate, growth, development, moulting and reproduction.

Thyroid hormone precursors are stored as colloid and are released in response to thyroid stimulating hormone from the pituitary (adenohypophysis).
KK15.1,15.2; H&G 20.2, 20.5

Other Glands of the Pharynx

Several other glands originate in the pharynx, from the pharyngeal pouches (and ultimately neural crest), including the thymus (TM), the ultimobranchial body (B), and the parathyroid (PT). We have already mentioned the thymus in the context of hemopoesis. The ultimobranchial body secretes calcitonin, which lowers blood calcium, and is opposed in this action by secretions of the parathyroid gland. These are closed associated with, or embedded in, the thyroid in mammals.
KK 15.5, 15.6, H&G 20.5


Adrenal Gland
The adrenal gland develops adjacent to the kidney, and its cortex comes from mesenchyme. The medulla of the adrenal gland comes from neural crest via the sympathetic ganglia (which we will cover next lecture). The hormones released by the adrenal gland involve salt and water balance, protein and carbohydrate metabolism, and stress response.

KK 15.8

Adrenal Gland (2)

There are two components of adrenal glands, adrenocortical tissue (black below) and chromaffin tissue (white). These are separate in lower tetrapods. In amniotes, chromaffin tissue is in the medulla of the adrenal glands, surrounded by adrenocortical tissue.

KK 15.9, 10 H&G 20.6

The Pancreas
The dorsal pancreas, or the pancreatic islets where dorsal and ventral pancreas are fused, also receives neural crest cells. These are involved in carbohydrate metabolism via the hormones insulin and glucagon, as well as protein metabolism. KK 15.11, H&G 12.12

Pituitary 1 Development
We have already mentioned the origin of the pituitary (hypophysis) in the context of the stomodeum. The adult organ is compound, arising from oral ectoderm (adenohypophysis) and neurectoderm (neurohypophysis). KK 15.13, H&G 20.4

Pituitary 2 Neurohypophysis
The neurohypophysis secretes vasopressin (ADH) and regulates water content and blood pressure. It also secretes oxytocin, which promotes release of milk from mammary glands and also contraction of the reproductive organs. KK 15.15, H&G 20.4

Pituitary 3 Adenohypophysis
The adenohypophysis secretes several important hormones, including growth hormone, prolactin (lactation), thyroid stimulating hormone (thyrotropin: stimulates release thyroid hormones), gonadotropins (FSH and LH/ICSH), corticotropin (to stimulate the adrenal cortex to release its hormones), and melatonin-stimulating hormone. KK 15.15, H&G 20.4

Other Endocrine Glands

Other endocrine glands include the pineal body (which we will come to again as part of the brain), the gonads (testes, ovaries), the digestive tract, and the kidneys.