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Endocrine System: Hormones
Next Generation: HS.LS1.2 MS.LS1.3 MS.LS1.3 NGSS

Endocrine System: Hormones


This lesson will give an overview of the structure and function of the endocrine system including the function and interactions of hormones.

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Source: Video and Images Created by Amanda Soderlind

Video Transcription

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Welcome to this lesson on the endocrine system and hormones.

Today we will be discussing what the endocrine system is, and how hormones can interact within the endocrine system.

The endocrine system is a body system that consists of glands, organs, and cells which produce hormones. These hormones act to help manage and regulate various body activities. These hormones, by regulating these various body activities, help to maintain homeostasis within the body. So they are a very important part of the body.

Hormones, as I mentioned, are produced by the endocrine system and help maintain homeostasis. They are basically signaling molecules. They're produced an excreted by the endocrine system, and then carried by the blood to target cells.

Target cells are cells that are affected by that hormone. Many hormones play specific roles in specific parts of the body. So certain cells have a specific receptor for a certain type of hormone. So that hormone can only affect cells that have the receptor for it. So not all cells are affected by all hormones. Certain hormones only affect certain types of cells.

Hormones can actually interact with each other in order to produce different effects. One type of hormone interaction is opposing. It's an opposing hormone interaction. This is when the effect of one hormone opposes the effect of another. an example is insulin and glucagon. Insulin is a type of hormone that helps to lower blood sugar levels, while glucagon is a type of hormone that helps to increase blood sugar levels. So these two hormones are antagonistic of one another. The effect of one is opposite, or opposes, the effect of another.

Sometimes hormones can be synergistic. What this means is that the two hormones are necessary to cooperate with each other to affect a target cell. So synergistic hormones will work together in order to effect a target cell. So two hormones will cooperate in order to effect a target cell. Those two hormones are necessary in [INAUDIBLE] in order to effect that target cell.

The last type of hormone interaction is permissive. What this means is that one hormone will prepare a cell for another hormone. So basically, for that second hormone to be able to effect the target cell, that target cell first has to be exposed to the first hormone. So one hormone will prep the cell for the other hormone to be able to take effect. So that second hormone does not take effect until the cell has been exposed to the first hormone.

These are the three different types of hormone interactions. If you're more interested in specific examples, or how these hormones interact with each other, you can take a look at some other tutorials on the endocrine system.

This lesson has been a brief overview on the endocrine system and hormone interactions.

Terms to Know
Endocrine System

A system of glands that produces and secretes hormones into the bloodstream; the endocrine system is used to communicate on a broad scale to the cells in the body.


The major chemical messenger of the endocrine system, hormones are produced, stored and secreted by glands; hormones either increase or decrease activity of the cells with which they interact.

Opposing Interaction

A term used to describe hormones that create opposite effects of one another; an example would be insulin lowers blood glucose while glucagon elevates blood glucose.

Permissive Interaction

When one hormone allows another hormone to have its full effect; an example would be thyroid hormones allowing growth hormone to have its full metabolic effects.

Synergistic Interaction

A term used to describe hormones that create similar effects through slightly different mechanisms; an example would be ADH stimulating kidneys to retain water while aldosterone stimulates kidneys to retain sodium, which in turn retains water.

Target Cell

The cell or group of cells with which a hormone is designed to interact.