Hormones and Neurotransmitters: The Differences and Curious Similarities

Quite curious indeed

A visualization of neurotransmitters. Source: Thermo Fisher Scientific.

Overview

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

The Differences

Hormones and neurotransmitters are different chemical messengers, the former produced by the endocrine glands and the latter by the nervous system.

Curious Similarities

Research in the last couple of years has demonstrated that some hormones, work like neurotransmitters independently of their classical hormone actions. The most well-studied hormones are progesterone and estrogen, which are known as steroid hormones.

Further Reading

S.F. Owen, et al. (2013). Nature, 500, 458–462.

The Biochemists

The most interesting news in biochemistry, microbiology…

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