Difference Between Endocrine and Exocrine
Key Difference – Endocrine vs Exocrine
Endocrine and Exocrine are two gland systems that synthesize and secrete different substances of our body. Both systems are made from a collection of major glands. Endocrine system is a collection of glands that produces and secretes substances such as hormones directly into the blood. The circulatory system moves these substances throughout the body. Endocrine system secretes substances such as enzymes into the ducts that lead to the target tissues. The key difference between endocrine and exocrine systems is that the endocrine system releases produced substances directly into the blood while exocrine system does not release its products directly into the blood.
What is Endocrine?
Endocrine is a collection of glands that produces and secretes substances which are important for the regulation of the different processes of the human body such as growth and development, reproduction, sexual function, tissue function, metabolism, mood, sleep etc. The speciality of the endocrine system is that it secretes its products directly into the blood. Through the circulatory system, these substances are reached to the target organs and tissues. Hormones are popular substances that produce the endocrine system. The different glands including the endocrine system are pituitary gland, pancreas, thyroid gland, adrenal glands, parathyroid glands, reproductive glands such as ovaries and testicles etc.
Figure 01: Endocrine System
When the endocrine system does not function properly, secretion and production of its products vary than the normal levels. There are certain diseases associated with the malfunctioning of the endocrine system. They are diabetes, hypothyroidism, hypoglycemia, thyroid cancer etc. that arise due to abnormal levels of respective hormones. And also several conditions such as stress, infections, electrolyte imbalance etc. can be occurred due to the malfunction of the endocrine system.
What is Exocrine?
Exocrine system is one of the two types of gland systems in our body. It is a collection of glands. Exocrine system produces and secretes substances that are necessary to protect and lubricate the human body. Exocrine glands are composed of a glandular portion and a duct portion. These glands secrete their products into duct portion leading to the target tissues. These secretions are not released into the blood system, unlike endocrine system. They are normally deposited onto epithelial surfaces that line the cavities and surfaces of blood vessels and organs throughout the body. Enzymes, sweat, mucus are products of the exocrine system.
Figure 02: Exocrine Gland
Examples of exocrine glands are sweat, salivary, mammary, ceruminous, lacrimal, bile-producing glands, prostate, sebaceous, and mucous glands. These glands can be further classified based on the structure, the method of secretion and the product secreted.
What are the Similarities Between Endocrine and Exocrine?
- Both systems produce and secrete substances that are important for different processes, protection and function of the body.
- Both are made up of a collection of glands.
- Both gland systems are vital gland systems in the human body.
What is the Difference Between Endocrine and Exocrine?
Endocrine vs Exocrine
Summary – Endocrine vs Exocrine
Endocrine and exocrine are two types of gland systems found in human body. Endocrine system produces and secrets substances such as hormones directly into the blood that are necessary for different functions in our body. These functions include growth and development, reproduction and sexual functions, metabolism, tissue function, mood, etc. The exocrine system produces and secrets substances that are necessary to protect and lubricate the human body. Products of the exocrine glands are secreted into ducts that lead to target tissues and organs. They are not released into the circulatory system. This is the difference between endocrine and exocrine systems.
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1.Zimmermann, Kim Ann. “Endocrine System: Facts, Functions and Diseases.” LiveScience, Purch, 11 Mar. 2016. Available here
2.“Exocrine gland.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 11 Feb. 2018. Available here
1.’Illu endocrine system’ (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia
2.’Centroacinar cells’By Mikael Häggström – Basic histology – Junqueira & Carneiro, ISBN 0-07-144091-7, McGraw-Hill Education 2005, (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia
About the Author: Dr.Samanthi
Dr.Samanthi Udayangani holds a B.Sc. Degree in Plant Science, M.Sc. in Molecular and Applied Microbiology, and PhD in Applied Microbiology. Her research interests include Bio-fertilizers, Plant-Microbe Interactions, Molecular Microbiology, Soil Fungi, and Fungal Ecology.
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