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Endocrine System Is a group of specialized organs and body tissues that produce store and secrete chemical substances known as hormones As the bodys chemical messengers hormones transfer information and instructions from one set of cells to another Because of the hormones they produce endocrine organs have a great deal of influence over the body Among their many jobs are regulating the bodys growth and development controlling the function of various tissues supporting pregnancy and other reproductive functions and regulating metabolism Endocrine organs are sometimes called ductless glands because they have no ducts connecting them to specific body parts The hormones they secrete are released directly into the bloodstream In contrast the exocrine glands such as the sweat glands or the salivary glands release their secretions directly to target areasfor example the skin or the inside of the mouth Some of the bodys glands are described as Endo-exocrine glands because they secrete hormones as well as other types of substances Even some nonglandular tissues produce hormone-like substancesnerve cells produce chemical messengers called neurotransmitters for example The earliest reference to the endocrine system comes from ancient Greece in about 400 BC However it was not until the 16th century that accurate anatomical descriptions of many of the endocrine organs were published Research during the 20th century has vastly improved our understanding of hormones and how they function in the body Today endocrinology the study of the endocrine glands is an important branch of modern medicine Endocrinologists are medical doctors who specialize in researching and treating disorders and diseases of the endocrine system COMPONENTS OF THE ENDOCRINE SYSTEM The primary glands that make up the human endocrine system are the hypothalamus pituitary thyroid parathyroid adrenal pineal body and reproductive glandsthe ovary and testis The pancreas an organ often associated with the digestive system is also considered part of the endocrine system In addition some nonendocrine
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