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Principles of hormone action 

Principles of hormone action
Principles of hormone action

Mark Gurnell

, Jacky Burrin

, and V. Krishna Chatterjee


August 28, 2014: This chapter has been re-evaluated and remains up-to-date. No changes have been necessary.


Minor updates made to table of genetic defects in membrane receptors or signalling and endocrine disorders.

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date: 16 October 2021

Hormones, produced by glands or cells, are messengers which act locally or at a distance to coordinate the function of cells and organs. Types of hormone include (1) peptides (e.g hypothalamic releasing factors) and proteins (e.g. insulin, growth hormone)—these generally interact with membrane receptors located on the cell surface, causing activation of downstream signalling pathways leading to alteration in gene transcription or modulation of biochemical pathways to effect a physiological response; (2) steroids (e.g. cortisol, progesterone, testosterone, oestradiol) and other lipophilic substances (e.g. vitamin D, retinoic acid, thyroid hormone)—these act by crossing the plasma membrane to interact with intracellular receptors, with hormone action via nuclear receptors altering cellular gene expression directly....

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