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Hormone Definition
What Are Hormones?

A naturally occurring substance secreted by specialized cells that affects the metabolism or behavior of other cells possessing functional receptors for the hormone. Hormones may be hydrophilic, like insulin, in which case the receptors are on the cell surface or lipophilic, like the steroids, where the receptor can be intracellular. Hormones are the chemical messengers produced by endocrine glands (ductless glands), whose secretions are liberated directly into the bloodstream and transported to a distant part or parts of the body, where they exert a specific effect for the benefit of the body as a whole. The endocrine glands involved in the maintenance of normal body conditions are pituitary, thyroid, parathyroid, adrenal, pancreas, ovary, and testis. According to their chemical constitution hormones are classified in to four groups. (a)Phenol derivatives (epinephrine, norepinephrine, thyroxine and triiodothyronine), (b)Proteins (anterior pituitary hormones except adrenocorticotropic hormone), (c)Peptides (insulin, glucagons, ACTH, vasopressin, oxytocin and secretin and (d)Steroids (estrogens, androgens, progesterone and corticoids).

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