The Role of the Endocrine System in Metabolism

1. Introduction

The branch of science known as endocrinology is a branch of science that focuses on the endocrine framework, its effect on development and improvement, hormonal uneven characters, the pathophysiology, aetiologies and the treatment of endocrine issue. The endocrine framework is a mind boggling arrangement of organs which are characterized by the sort and measures of hormones that they discharge. Hormones are activities that have been delivered from a particular tissue with an impact on the exercises of an alternate tissue or organ. Hormones influence development and improvement, support of a sound adjust of inner environments, guiding metabolic procedures, and controlling conceptive work. At the point when the hormones have completed their activities they are then discharged and deactivated. Coming up next are the endocrine organs found in the human body. The pituitary organ, thyroid, parathyroid and adrenal organs are named having separate anatomical structures however the pancreas and the gonads are made out of accumulations of specific cells that are situated in organs with different essential capacities. The pituitary organ is regularly alluded to as the expert organ as it controls the capacity of others, it is situated in the base of the cerebrum and is associated with the hypothalamus by methods for the infundibulum. The pituitary organ itself is partitioned into two separate organs each with a particular capacity, the back pituitary or neurohypophysis and the front pituitary or adenohypophysis.

2. Endocrine System and Metabolism

The activity of endocrine-sensitive tissues is governed by the ability to adapt substrate metabolism to the rate of incoming energy. The hormones that regulate these processes elicit their effects by altering gene transcription, while at the same time coordinating the activities of key enzymes by both short- and long-term mechanisms. The long-term effects of the steroid hormones derive from changes in the rate of gene transcription and the synthesis of specific mRNAs and proteins. In many cases, these hormones act to maintain stability of enzyme levels, while at the same time altering the phenotype of the cells by selecting for those mRNA populations which are responsible for the synthesis of specific proteins.

Endocrine function and metabolism are closely linked. The endocrine system is important in regulating metabolic activity by secreting hormones that act on the target cells. Hormones are chemical substances that affect the activity of another part of the body (target site). Hormones regulate various human functions such as growth and development, tissue function, sleep, and mood. The endocrine system is made up of several glands: The pituitary gland, thyroid gland, parathyroid glands, adrenal glands, pancreas, and gonads. Hormones are classified into two types based on their solubility. The first type is steroids, which are derived from cholesterol. They are lipid soluble so they can pass through the cell membrane of target cells to act upon the DNA. The second type is non-steroid hormones, amines, peptides, and proteins. These are water soluble so they are released into the bloodstream to travel to target cells and act upon them by binding to receptors on the cell surface.

3. Hormones and Metabolic Regulation

The role of hormones in various metabolic processes is very crucial because it’s the hormones that are the dominating players in directing metabolism. Hormones have the ability to stimulate or inhibit a variety of metabolic actions at the various organs, where the hormones are secreted directly into the blood which carries it to the target organ. Insulin and glucagon are the two hormones secreted by the pancreas and are probably the most well-known hormones in metabolic processes. They’re responsible for controlling the level of sugar in the blood. Insulin reduces the level of sugar in the blood, whereas levels of glucagon do exactly the opposite. Both of these hormones affect the metabolism of glucose and other substances. Thyroid hormones are also important hormones affecting metabolic rate and heat production in the body. The catecholamines and glucocorticoids have an effect on mobilization of food reserves and also have an influence on the levels of particular enzyme activity. Finally, the gonadal hormones have a very important effect on growth and body composition. With respect to all of these hormones and the varying effects that they have on metabolism, it is essential that they be regulated correctly for the maintenance of a steady internal environment. This is importantly termed as homeostasis.

4. Disorders of the Endocrine System and Metabolism

Hypothyroidism is, by comparison, an endocrine disorder that results in a decreased metabolic rate and energy production in the body. A person with the disorder may experience fatigue, weight gain, and a feeling of being colder than normal. The weight gain is the result of increased levels of water and salt retention in the body and the accumulation of both fat and protein. This can lead to high levels of cholesterol and fats in the blood. An early sign of the disease is the slowing of cognitive function, which if left untreated, can result in myxedema, a condition characterized by a swelling of the skin caused by an accumulation of mucopolysaccharides. This form of the disease has severe effects, with the changes in the skin and body shape it causes often being irreversible. High cholesterol, heart disease, and in older patients, depression are complications of hypothyroidism that all have an effect on a person’s quality of life.

Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disorder that occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks the body and causes the overproduction of thyroid hormone. The body’s metabolic state is one of increased energy production; this can lead to weight loss despite an increased appetite. A peculiar characteristic of the disease is seen by the accumulation of fat behind the eyes of the affected person, causing them to bulge. There is an aggressive increase in weight loss compared to an increase in appetite and food consumption. This overproduction of energy can lead to quick consumption of the body’s energy reserves in the form of carbohydrates, fat, and protein. This leads to weakness and continuing loss of muscle tissue. High levels of thyroid hormone can result in an increased heart rate and blood pressure, which can result in a patient with heart or vascular problems having an attack such as a stroke. This upregulation in the body’s metabolic state has a damaging effect on the body, and if left untreated, can be fatal.

Endocrine disorders such as Cushing’s syndrome, Graves’ disease, and hypothyroidism affect the metabolic rate, causing changes in weight and body composition. Cushing’s syndrome is when the body’s tissues are exposed to excessive levels of cortisol over a long period of time. This can be the result of taking an excessive amount of glucocorticoid medication or the presence of a tumor in the body. The first sign of the syndrome is an increased fat deposition to the upper body and face, coupled with the thinning of the arms and legs. In the long term, the weight gain in the trunk and the abdomen leads to an increase in the risk of heart disease and diabetes. The accumulation of fat, particularly in the face, causes those affected to feel extremely self-conscious about their image. This can result in negative psychological effects and changes in attitude to life, which may exacerbate or reactivate an episode of depression. This highlights the psychological and physical changes that can result from an endocrine disorder and have an effect on the quality of life.

5. Conclusion

Metabolism comprises all the biochemical reactions that occur in the human body. There are two types of reactions that occur in metabolism: catabolic and anabolic reactions. Catabolic reactions break down larger molecules into smaller molecules, releasing energy, whereas anabolic reactions use energy to join two small molecules to form a larger molecule. Catabolic reactions provide the energy needed to drive anabolic reactions and to perform other bodily functions. The balance between energy stored in macromolecules and used in bodily functions must be maintained. This is known as energy balance, and any disturbances in energy balance can be detrimental to health. Diabetics and others with metabolic disorders have a difficult time maintaining energy balance, and these diseases are a large health concern. It is extremely important to have a good understanding of the endocrine system and its function since it plays a vital role in maintaining an energy balance through the various hormones that it controls and releases with regards to metabolism. This will help us understand the causes of diseases like diabetes and allow us to develop better methods for prevention and treatment.

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