An Introduction to Neuroendocrinology by Richard Brown

By Richard Brown

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E. the junction between two nerve cells). Neurohormones, neuropeptides and neurotransmitters may be transported by the cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) as well as by the circulatory system, and, the small quantities which enter the blood are quickly degraded. Pheromones are released into the air by one individual to act on another individual. (d) Act on specific target cells located at a distance from the site of synthesis Although hormones are defined as acting on specific target cells, there are a number of hormones which act on several different cell types in the body, rather than on a specific cell type.

The a-cells of the islets of Langerhans secrete the hormone glucagon which increases blood glucose levels, thus having the opposite action to that of insulin. Glucagon increases blood glucose levels by stimulating the conversion of glycogen to glucose in the liver. Other endocrine cells of the pancreas produce the hormones somatostatin and pancreatic polypeptide (Hadley, 1992). 3). The adrenal cortex The adrenal cortex is a true endocrine gland which secretes three categories of steroid hormones: mineralocorticoids, glucocorticoids and sex steroids.

Oxytocin has two primary functions: it promotes uterine contractions at the time of birth and it stimulates milk ejection from the mammary glands during lactation. Oxytocin also has a number of neuropeptide functions in the brain (see Chapter 12). e. it acts as an anti-diuretic. As a central neuropeptide, vasopressin may enhance memory (see Chapter 12). As well as these hormones, the pars nervosa releases two large proteins called neurophysins which function as carrier proteins for oxytocin and vasopressin (see Chapter 7).

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