Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Hormone

Any chemical substance produced in the body by an organ, by cells of an organ, or by scattered cells, and which has a specific regulatory effect on the activity of a certain organ or of certain cell types. Originally applied to substances secreted by various endocrine glands and transported in the bloodstream to distant target organs on which the effects of the hormone were produced, the term is now also applied to various substances not produced by special glands but having similar action, both locally and anatomically remote. Hormones can also influence the nervous system and thus the behavior of an organism. Examples of principal hormones by organ of origination include: adrenal gland (cortex: aldosterone, cortisone; medulla: epinephrine, noreipnephrine); gonads (ovary: estrogens estrone, estradiol, estriol, progesterone, relaxin; testis: testosterone, dihydrotestosterone); hypothalamus (gonadotropin-releasing hormone, oxytocin, prolactin-inhibiting hormone, prolactin-releasing hormone, thyrotropin-releasing hormone, vasopressin); liver (insulin-like growth factor); pancreas (glucagon, insulin); placenta (chorionic gonadotropin, chorionic somatomammotropin, placental lactogen, progesterone); pineal gland (melatonin); pituitary gland (adenohypophysis: adenocorticotropic hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone, growth hormone/ somatotropin, luteinizing hormone, prolactin, thyrotropin; intermediate lobe: menalocyte-stimulating hormone; neurohypophysis: oxytocin storage, vasopressin storage); thymus gland (thymosin); thyroid gland (calcitonin, thyroxine).

See target site.

Cf. pheromone.

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