Actions Of Hormones

Regulation of bodily functions by hormones is achieved by regulating the activities of individual cells. Hormones signal cells to start or stop secreting, contracting, dividing, or differentiating. They may also accelerate or slow the rates of these processes, or they may modify responses to other hormones. All of these cellular actions summate to produce the biologic responses we observe at the level of tissues, organs, and the whole body. The factors that determine the magnitude of cellular responses to a hormone are listed in Table 3. Although hormones are distributed throughout the blood and extracellular fluid, only

Table 3 Determinants of the Magnitude of a Hormonal Response

1. Concentration of Hormone at Target Cell Surface a. rate of secretion b. rate of delivery by the circulation c. rate of hormone degradation

2. Sensitivity of Target Cells a. number of functional receptors per cell b. receptor affinity for the hormone c. postreceptor amplification capacity d. abundance of available effector molecules

3. Number of Functional Target Cells

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