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Articles about Hormones

Amino Acid Hormones

Hormones are molecular structures which are designed to impart specific information to receptor cells and enhance the biological functions of the receptor cells. With regard to their structural groups, the hormones are classified as peptides and proteins, steroids, amino acid derivatives and fatty acid derivatives. Each group of these structurally different hormones tends to exhibit similar properties and function in a similar fashion.

Amino Acid Hormones:

The primary amino acid hormones include the following:

1. Thyroid hormones are primarily derived from the amino acid tyrosine with the incorporation of iodine atoms

2. Catecholamines which include neurotransmitter hormones - epinephrine and nor epinephrine are also derivatives of the amino acid tyrosine

3. Serotonin and melatonin are derived from the amino acid Tryptophan

4. Histamine is derived from the amino acid Glutamic Acid.

Each of these hormones performs essential functions in the body. Their functionality ranges from enhancing immunity to promoting metabolism within the body.

Thyroid Hormones: Derivates of Amino Acid Tyrosine:

Thyroid hormones are secreted by the thyroid gland and comprise of two hormones Thyroxine (T4) and Triidothyronine (T3). The primary function of these hormones is to regulate the basal metabolic rate and affect almost all the cells of the body. In addition, these hormones are involved in protein synthesis, they regulate the growth of long bones, etc. They play a critical role in the process of cell differentiation and development. These hormones regulate carbohydrate, fat, protein and vitamin metabolism and thereby control the way in which human cells produce energy and use it for the various cellular functions. They also enhance the sensitivity of the body to Catecholamines

Catecholamines: Derivates of Amino Acid Tyrosine:

Catecholamines are also referred to as ‘Fight or Flight’ hormones which are released by the adrenal glands in response to stressful situations. Epinephrine and Nor epinephrine are the two basic forms of these hormones which act as neuromodulators in the central nervous system.

High levels of these hormones in the blood, is the consequence to stress, results in physiological changes which include: increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, increase in blood glucose levels and general fight or flight response of the body. They have a relatively short half life of about a few minutes in the body and tend to degenerate very easily.

Serotonin and Melatonin: Derivates of Tryptophan

Both Serotonin and Melatonin are neurotransmitters. Serotonin plays an important role in sleep regulation, sensory perception, noise sensitivity, light sensitivity, moods and body temperature. On the other hand, melatonin plays a crucial role in regulating the circadian rhythms and a host of other biological functions. Altered levels of these hormones are associated with depression, increased pain sensitivity and insomnia.

Histamine: A derivative of Glutamic Acid

The primary function of Histamine is to modulate the immune response by triggering inflammation in the presence of a foreign pathogen. Histamine stimulates the production of basophils, which in turn increases permeability of capillaries to white blood cells and they fight the pathogens. In addition, this hormone and neurotransmitter, performs several other functions which include - regulation of sleep, sexual functions, libido and it suppresses enhanced mental functions in cases of convulsions.