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The neuroendocrine system is made up of a network of cells that are distributed throughout the body. The word neuroendocrine refers to 2 qualities of these cells: they have a similar structure to nerve cells (neurons) and produce hormones like endocrine cells. Neuroendocrine cells release hormoneshormonesA substance that regulates specific body functions, such as metabolism, growth and reproduction. into the bloodstream in response to chemical signals from other cells or messages from the nervous system. These hormones work like neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are chemicals released by a nerve cell to transmit signals or impulses from one nerve cell to another nerve cell or other specialized cells.
The neuroendocrine system is formed by the diffuse neuroendocrineneuroendocrineReferring to or having to do with the neuroendocrine system or the cells and organs that make up this system. system and the endocrineendocrineThe group of glands and cells in the body that make and release hormones (which control many functions such as growth, reproduction, sleep, hunger and metabolism) into the blood. system. It is made up of cells that produce and release hormones.
The diffuse neuroendocrine system is made up of neuroendocrine cells scattered throughout the body.
The endocrine system is formed by the endocrine glands, which are ductless glands that secrete hormones directly into the blood or lymph fluid. The actions of these hormones vary according to the gland and specific type of hormone produced.
The endocrine system is made up of pituitary, pineal, thyroid, parathyroid and adrenal glands, pancreatic islet cells (also known as islets of Langerhans) and the ovaries or testicles.
Neuroendocrine cells are highly specialized nerve-like cells that release hormones in response to a neurological or chemical signal. The hormones released by the cells enter the blood and travel throughout the body to reach their target cells. Each type of hormone binds to a specific receptor on the target cell. The target cell responds to this hormone by changing specific cellular functions, such as metabolism, growth and reproduction. Complex feedback mechanisms involving the nervous system, endocrine system and diffuse neuroendocrine system control the levels of hormones in the body.
Examples of hormones and their action include: