The nervous and endocrine systems review
|Nervous system||The body system that collects, processes, and responds to information using electrical signals|
|Neuron||A nerve cell; the basic unit of the nervous system|
|Glial cell||A cell that supports and protects neurons|
|Central nervous system||Part of the nervous system containing the brain and spinal cord|
|Peripheral nervous system||Part of the nervous system containing associated nerves that are not part of the brain or spinal cord|
|Endocrine system||The body system that regulates cells and organs using chemical substances called hormones|
|Hormone||Chemical messenger that acts as a regulatory substance|
|Gland||Organ that secretes chemical substances, such as hormones|
The nervous system
Nervous system cells
- Sensory neurons carry impulses from sense organs, such as the eyes or ears.
- Motor neurons carry impulses to muscles and glands.
- Interneurons transfer signals between sensory and motor neurons, as well as in between other interneurons.
Parts of the nervous system
- The somatic nervous system (SNS) regulates voluntary activities such as muscular movement. It also controls reflexes, such as pulling your hand away from the hot surface of a stove.
- The autonomic nervous system (ANS) regulates activities that are not under conscious control and has two divisions that are opposite of one another: the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. The sympathetic nervous system prepares the body for “fight-or-flight” responses, while the parasympathetic nervous system is active during restful periods.
The endocrine system
Common hormones and glands
|Hormone||Gland produced in||Role|
|Thyroid hormone||Thyroid||Regulates metabolism|
|Adrenaline (epinephrine)||Adrenal gland||Involved in "fight or flight" response|
|Cortisol||Adrenal gland||Involved in "fight or flight" response, regulates metabolism and immune responses|
|Estrogen||Ovaries||Sexual and reproductive development, mainly in women|
|Testosterone||Testes, sometimes adrenal glands or ovaries||Sexual and reproductive development, mainly in men|
|Insulin||Pancreas||Blood sugar regulation, fat storage|
|Glucagon||Pancreas||Blood sugar regulation|
Regulation of the endocrine system
Common mistakes and misconceptions
- While neurons are often the most recognized nervous system cell, they are not the only ones! In fact, glial cells outnumber neurons by almost 10 times. Glial cells (also known as neuroglia) support the neurons, guiding and protecting them, and provide myelin sheaths around their axons.
- Hormones are not just part of the reproductive system. Although there are reproductive hormones, such as testosterone and estrogen, most hormones are not involved in or regulated by the reproductive system. Many hormones control regular body functions, such as hunger or sleepiness.
- Although both the endocrine system and the nervous system are both regulatory, there are a few fundamental differences. For one, the endocrine system uses chemical signaling (hormones, produced by glands) while the nervous system uses electrical signaling (neural impulses). The signal transmission of the nervous system is fast because neurons are interconnected, but the functions are more short-lived. Signal transmission in the endocrine system is slow, since hormones must travel through the bloodstream, but the responses tend to last longer.