Welcome to the Wikiversity learning project about hormones. Wikiversity learning resources about hormones are under development.
Introduction[edit | edit source]
Hormones are molecules that are :
- made in and released from a cell
- carried through the circulatory system
- act through specific receptor systems to modify the behavior of target cells.
Hormones help coordinate the behaviors of distant parts of animals. One of the most familiar hormones is insulin. Insulin is made in the pancreas and is transported through the blood stream to its many target tissues. The pancreas is positioned so as to efficiently sense when food molecules are available in the digestive system. Insulin is released when food molecules are available and it triggers many cells in the body to adjust their metabolic processes so as to help store the available food molecules.
The fact that hormones function as control signals that are transported through the blood makes them an important class of drugs. For example, insulin can be used as a drug by some people with diabetes. Some drugs target the production of hormones or their receptors. We can also often influence the actions of hormones by our daily behaviors. Thus, there are many circumstances when people become interested in hormones for health reasons.