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Introduction to Human Anatomy & Physiology

PhysioEx Lab Exercise 4
Endocrine System Physiology
NOTE: Read and study chapter 13 in your text before attempting this lab exercise!
The endocrine system is composed of a large number of organs scattered
throughout the body; it regulates the functioning of every other cell, tissue,
and organ in the body. These endocrine organs all have something in
commonthey secrete hormones into the blood stream. These hormones
then go to a target cell/tissue/organ and bind to very specific binding sites.
Activity 2: Plasma Glucose, Insulin, and Diabetes Mellitus. You will begin by
developing a optical density. Then, you will determine the plasma glucose
levels from samples from five different patients. The normal values, values
used to diagnose glucose impairment (borderline diabetes mellitus), and
values used to diagnose diabetes mellitus are found in the first column on
page 64 of your lab book.
Exercise 4 Review
Hormone A chemical substance produced in the body and carried through the
bloodstream that controls and regulates the activity of certain cells or organs.
Target Cell Any cell selectively affected by a particular agent, such as a hormone
or drug. In the case of the endocrine system, only the target cells for a given
hormone have receptors that bind and recognize that hormone.
Important concepts
Two systems control homeostasis in the body:
o The fast acting nervous system through the release of
neurotransmitters along neurons.
o The slow acting endocrine system by way of releasing hormones that
travel through the bloodstream and act upon specific target cells.
The pancreas lies in the curve of the duodenum. It has both endocrine
(secretes hormones such as glucagon and insulin into the bloodstream
directly) and exocrine (secretes digestive enzymes such as lipase into a duct
that travels into the duodenum to assist with the breakdown of food particles
in the digestive process) functions.
Endocrine glands secrete hormones (i.e. TRH, TSH, T3, T4, insulin, calcitonin,
etc.) directly into the bloodstream to target cells whereas exocrine glands
secrete their non-hormone products (i.e. digestive enzymes sweat, etc.)
through ducts into a body cavity, into the lumen of an organ, or onto the
outer surface of the body.
The endocrine portion of the pancreas consists of the islets of Langerhans,
which are made up of alpha cells which secrete glucagon and beta cells that
secrete insulin.

American Public
University System

June 2013

Introduction to Human Anatomy & Physiology
Glucagon increases blood glucose levels, and insulin decreases blood glucose
levels. Secretion of both hormones is controlled by the level of glucose in the
Glucocorticoids (mainly cortisol) promote normal metabolism, help resist
stress, and decrease inflammation. Secretion is controlled by ACTH which is
released by the anterior pituitary gland.
The control of secretion of cortisol occurs by negative feedback. A low blood
level of cotrisol stimulates neurosecretory cells in the hypothalamus to
secrete CRH (corticotrophin-releasing hormone) which stimulates the anterior
pituitary to secrete ACTH.

Hypothalamus Pituitary (AKA Hypophysis) Adrenal Gland




Supplemental Learning Tools

See the following site for an animation about diabetes:

American Public
University System

June 2013