Endocrine System

Mechanisms of Hormone Action: Introduction and Index

Immediately after discovery of a new hormone, a majority of effort is devoted to delineating its sites of synthesis and target cells, and in characterizing the myriad of physiologic responses it invokes. An equally important area of study is to determine precisely how the hormone acts to change the physiologic state of its target cells - its mechanism of action.

Understanding mechanism of action is itself a broad task, encompassing structure and function of the receptor, how the bound receptor transduces a signal inside the cell and the end effectors of that signal. This information is not only of great interest to basic science, but critical to understanding and treating diseases of the endocrine system, and in using hormones as drugs.

Core concepts related to hormone mechanism of action are presented as the following topics:

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