Although the plasma concentrations of many hormones fluctuate in response to various stimuli that occur throughout the day, all hormones studied thus far appear to be closely controlled. In most instances, this control is exerted through negative feedback mechanisms that ensure a proper level of hormone activity at the target tissue. After a stimulus causes release of the hormone, conditions or products resulting from the action of the hormone tend to suppress its further release. In other words, the hormone (or one of its products) has a negative feedback effect to prevent oversecretion of the hormone or overactivity at the target tissue.
The controlled variable is often not the secretory rate of the hormone itself but the degree of activity of the target tissue. Therefore, only when the target tissue activity rises to an appropriate level will feedback signals to the endocrine gland become powerful enough to slow further secretion of the hormone. Feedback regulation of hormones can occur at all levels, including gene transcription and translation steps involved in the synthesis of hormones and steps involved in processing hormones or releasing stored hormones.
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This ebook provides an introductory explanation of the workings of the human body, with an effort to draw connections between the body systems and explain their interdependencies. A framework for the book is homeostasis and how the body maintains balance within each system. This is intended as a first introduction to physiology for a college-level course.