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ENDOCRINOLOGY. For Biochemistry Diploma Students Faculty of Science Cairo University. Classical definition of a hormone. Chemical messengers Synthesized by living cells and Secreted by a specific gland Secreted directly into the blood stream Carried by the blood

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For Biochemistry Diploma Students

Faculty of Science

Cairo University

classical definition of a hormone
Classical definition of a hormone
  • Chemical messengers
  • Synthesized by living cells and
  • Secreted by a specific gland
  • Secreted directly into the blood stream
  • Carried by the blood
  • Acts on a specific target
  • At a site distant from site of secretion
  • Secreted in minute quantities
  • Acts via specific receptors to exert specific actions
new definition of a hormone
New Definition of a Hormone

"Any substance released by a cell and which acts on another cell, near or far, regardless of the means of conveyance"

general functions of hormones
General functions of hormones
  • Control Reproductive processes: differentiation, maturation, gametogenesis.
  • Growth and development: stimulate or inhibit cellular proliferation
  • Homeostasis: Maintenance of healthy internal environment in a continuously changing external and internal environments
  • Metabolism: anabolic and catabolic processes, muscular activity, excretion, reabsorption of ions
  • Energy production, utilization and storage
  • Animal behavior: sexual, aggressive and maternal
  • Other hormones (synthesis, secretion, permissive action)
classification of hormones according to mode of their delivery
Classification of hormones according to mode of their delivery
  • Endocrine:
  • Neuroendocrine:
  • Paracrine:
  • Autocrine:
  • Luminal:
  • Pheromone
classification according to chemical classes of hormones
Classification according toChemical classes of hormones
  • Protein and polypeptides
  • Steroids
  • Tyrosine-derived
  • Eicosanoids
  • Vitamins
  • Miscellaneous group: Gaseous molecules (NO, CO), metabolic substances (glucose, lactic acid), chalones, lumones, pheromones













Steroid Hormones







synthesis of protein hormones
Synthesis of Protein Hormones
  • Transcription of a gene in the nucleus  mRNA
  • Translationof mRNA by ribosomes on RER  pre-prohormone in ER
  • Post-translational modification:
    • Pre-prohormone in ER  prohormone by losing signal peptide sequence
    • Prohormone migrates to Golgi complex  incorporated into a vesicle
    • prohormone in vesicle + protease enzymes  hormone
synthesis of steroid hormones
Synthesis of Steroid Hormones

Activation of specific enzymes:  acetate  cholesterol  pregnenolone  to the diff hormones.

The SER, mitochondria and cytoplasm contain the enzymes required for the transformations

synthesis of vitamin d
Synthesis of VitaminD

They are sterol hormones and have much in common to other steroid hormones

Its precursor, cholecalciferol, is obtained from diet or synthesized by the ultraviolet irradiation of provitamin D in the skin

Cholecalciferol, by a series of enzymes in the liver and kidney, is hydroxylated to the active hormone, calcitriol

synthesis of tyrosine derived hormones
Synthesis of Tyrosine-derived hormones

I.Thyroid hormones: is a unique process

  • Thyroid cells concentrate iodine
  • Thyroid cells synthesize a glycoprotein, thyroglobulin
  • Iodine is oxidized
  • Iodine is oxidized, then coupled to iodotyrosine within thyroglobulin (organification process) by thyroid peroxidase enzyme
  • Reuptake of thyroglobulin by endocytosis
  • Proteolytic digestion by lysosomal enzymes (hydrolyases)  T­3+ T4 (iodothyronines) and MIT+ DIT (iodotyrosines)

II. Catecholamines: They are synthesized from tyrosine by a number of enzymes in the cytoplasm and chromaffin granules

synthesis of eicosanoids
Synthesis of Eicosanoids

From fatty acid (arachidonic acid) released from phospholipids in cell membrane by means of a number of enzymes.

  • Protein hormones: In secretory granules within the cytoplasm
  • Steroid hormones: Are not stored. The hormones precursor, cholesterol esters, is the storage form
  • Tyrosine-derived hormones
  • Thyroid hormones: in the thyroglobulin
  • Catecholamines: in secretory chromaffin granules in the cytoplasm + ATP + chromogranin
    • Eicosanoids: Are not stored.
  • Vitamin D: Cholecalciferol is stored in adipose tissue. Liver stores its metabolite
  • Protein hormones: Byexocytosis
  • Steroid hormones: by diffusion immediately upon synthesis
  • Vitamin D: by diffusion immediately upon synthesis
  • Tyrosine – derived hormones:
  • Thyroid hormones: fusion of lysosomes with colloid droplets, the hormones are released by exocytosis from the basement membrane
  • Catecholamines: stimulus-secretion coupling requiring Ca, vesicular exocytosis
  • Eicosanoids: by diffusion
  • Protein hormones: mostly unbound, free in the blood
  • Steroid hormones: Bound to a plasma protein (high- affinity binding to globulin and low-affinity to albumin). Cortisol to transcortin, sex hormones to sex-hormone-binding globulin (SHBG).
  • Vitamin D: Bound to a globulin (transcalciferin)
  • Tyrosine-derived hormone:
    • Thyroid hormones: Mostly bound to thyronine-binding globulin (TBG) or prealbumin (transthyretin)
    • Catecholamines: Bound to albumin.
  • Eicosanoids: Are not transported. They act as autocrine or paracrine hormones
purpose of binding of hormones to proteins
Purpose of binding of hormones to proteins:
  • The hormone is protected from the inactivating systems present in the blood.
  • The hormone is maintained in a “stored” circulating form to be readily available to its target tissues.
  • Ensure ubiquitous distribution of the water-insoluble hormones.
relation between bound and unbound hormone
Relation between bound and unbound hormone

A dynamic equilibrium exists between the concentrations of free (unbound) hormone, plasma protein, and the hormone-protein complex:

[H]x[P] [HP]


= K

Where K is the dissociation constant


peripheral conversion
Peripheral Conversion

Some biologically active hormones are converted to other equally active hormones in peripheral tissues such as liver, breast adipose tissue, brain etc


Testosterone dihydrotestosterone

Thyroxine (T4) triiodothyronine (T3)

Single hormone, different effects.


Estradiol acts on ovarian follicles to promote granulosa cell differentiation, on uterus to stimulate its growth and maintain the cyclic change of uterine mucosa, on mammary gland to stimulate ductal growth, on bone to promote linear growth and closure of epiphyseal plates, on HPA to regulate secretion of gonadotropins and prolactin, on metabolic processes to affect adipose tissue distribution, volume of ECF, etc

  • Several hormones, single function.


Release of fatty acids (lipolysis) from adipose tissue stimulated by catecholamines, glucagon, secretin, prolactin and B-lipotropin

permissive effect of hormones
Permissive effect of Hormones
  • It is the effect that some hormones exhibit, these hormones have little effect by themselves, but when they are present they affect other hormones to become fully manifested.
  • Example:

Development of mammary gland, under infleunce of prolactin, estradiol & progesterone and the permissive influence of glucocorticoids, thyroid hormones and insulin