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Difference between Endocrine System and Exocrine System

Hormones play an important role in the functioning of various organs and organ systems of the body. They regulate activities of cells and organs and other processes essential to life. Hormones are chemical messengers that help our body work the way it should. In our body, Hormones are secreted by glands, which are divided into two classes: endocrine glands and exocrine glands. The endocrine glands form the endocrine system and exocrine glands form the exocrine system. Let us see how endocrine system differs from endocrine system!

Endocrine System:

The endocrine system comprises endocrine glands which secrete their hormones directly into the bloodstream from where they are supplied to the target cells, tissues or organs. These glands are also known as ductless glands. The term endocrine is derived from two Greek words "endo" meaning within and "crinis" meaning to secrete.

Some of the major glands of the endocrine system include adrenal glands, hypothalamus glands, thyroid gland, parathyroid glands, ovaries, pancreas, testicles etc. The secretion of hormones by endocrines glands should not be too high or too low as it may result in diseases of the endocrine system such as diabetes, hypothyroidism, and hypoglycemia.

If your endocrine system is not working properly, one may face problems like difficulty in getting pregnant, managing stress or body weight. One may also have weak bones and low energy levels as the sugar tends to stay in your blood instead of moving into your cells to produce energy.

Exocrine System:

The exocrine system comprises exocrine glands which secrete their hormones into a system of ducts that leads to the external environment. So, these glands are known as duct glands. Some of the major glands of the exocrine system include sweat glands, mammary glands, sebaceous glands, salivary glands etc.

The exocrine glands deposit their secretions onto an external or internal surface such as epithelial surfaces that lines the cavities and surface of blood vessels or organs throughout the body. Some disorders of the exocrine system include acromegaly, dwarfism, gigantism, goiter, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism etc.

Based on the above information, some of the key differences between endocrine system and exocrine system are as follows:

Endocrine System Exocrine System
It comprises endocrine glands. It comprises exocrine glands.
The glands pour their secretions directly into the bloodstream. These glands do not pour their secretions into the bloodstream.
It does not utilize ducts to transports hormones to the target cells, organs etc. It depends solely on ducts for the transportation of its secretions to the target cells.
The transportation of the hormones is slower than that of exocrine system. The transportation of secretions is faster than that of the endocrine system.
Endocrine glands secrete hormones. These glands secrete enzymes.
These glands have slower response time as hormones have to travel through blood before reaching the target sites. These glands have faster response time as transportation occurs through ducts.
Examples include thyroid gland, pineal gland, thalamus gland, pituitary gland, liver, pancreas, ovaries( in females), testes (in males) etc. Examples include salivary glands, sebaceous glands, mammary glands, pancreas, liver etc.
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B.Tech / MCA