Hormones and Neurotransmitters: The Differences and Curious Similarities

Hormones and Neurotransmitters: The Differences and Curious Similarities

A visualization of neurotransmitters. Source: Thermo Fisher Scientific.


Neurotransmitters and hormones are two unlike types of chemicals that carry signals from one region of the body to another. Both chemicals play an significant part in the body ’ s physiology. They control a kind of physical and psychological functions, including our mood, our eating patterns, our ability to learn, and our rest cycles .

The Differences

Hormones and neurotransmitters are different chemical messengers, the former produced by the hormone glands and the latter by the anxious system. Hormones are normally secreted from the endocrine system and released into the bloodstream, but they act on distant prey cells. Some hormones, like melatonin and hydrocortisone, are actually produced in the brain, released in the blood, and affect other parts of the body.

On the early hand, neurotransmitters are released from the presynaptic boldness terminal in the brain. They move across the synaptic cleave, a little space between two adjacent neurons, and move to the following nerve cell ( known as a postsynaptic nerve cell ). There they bind to specific receptors, causing changes in the electric properties of target cells, which can cause diverse postsynaptic effects. Neurotransmitters work locally and their actions are identical fast. Both hormones and neurotransmitters influence our thoughts and motivations, a well as our ability to learn and concentrate. however, neurotransmitters ’ actions are ephemeral while hormones act for longer periods of time. furthermore, neurotransmitters can affect both voluntary actions ( eating, bathing, walking ) and involuntary actions ( breathing, blinking ). Hormones in the endocrine system always work involuntarily .

Curious Similarities

inquiry in the death match of years has demonstrated that some hormones, work like neurotransmitters independently of their classical music hormone actions. The most well-studied hormones are progesterone and estrogen, which are known as steroid hormones. Steroid hormones are typically synthesized in the endocrine gland gland and constipate to a sense organ that then binds to a specific DNA sequence, affecting gene transcription. This process is a drawn-out one, which means that steroid hormones work for a elongated period of prison term. however, Progesterone and estrogen are besides synthesized in the neural circuit, specifically in the presynaptic terminal. They then bind to the membrane and intracellular receptors followed by neurotransmitter-like action, which is identical fast and ephemeral. These neurotransmitters-like steroids have multiple receptors. The steroid-receptor specific functions are not however clearly understand.

Some well-studied neuroreceptors, like dopamine and serotonin are known to possess hormonal functions. Dopamine is a neurohormone released from the hypothalamus ; its chief serve is to block the release of prolactin, another hormone, from the pituitary gland. As a neurotransmitter released from the central anxious organization, it besides has many functions including roles in cognition and motor activity. Adrenaline and noradrenaline are two molecules that differ by one carbon atom. Adrenaline, which is produced by the adrenal gland, acts as a hormone. On the other pass, noradrenaline acts as a neurotransmitter in the central aflutter system. This is just a objet d’art of a growing body of inquiry suggesting that many hormones work as neurotransmitters and vice-versa. The adjacent sphere of inquiry here is to determine the receptor-specificity of these molecules to understand how their officiate may change depending on the receptor and mood of tie down .

Further Reading

S.F. Owen, et alabama. ( 2013 ). nature, 500, 458–462.

B.J. Martin, et alabama. ( 2015 ). nature, 520, 499–504. Lauren M. Rudolph, et aluminum. ( 2016 ). The J. of Neuroscience, 36, 11449–11458. Balthazart, J. & Ball, G.F. ( 2006 ). Trends Neurosci., 29, 241–249 .