Skip to Main Content


There are broad principles and concepts in endocrinology that the reader must understand. Familiarity with concepts such as negative feedback loops, hormone-receptor function, and hormone replacement therapy allows the physician to generalize what is learned in one area and apply it to others. This gives the ability to predict the effects of an endocrine abnormality or perturbation on downstream hormones and its subsequent clinical effects. Conversely, it also allows the clinician to consider a set of symptoms, work backward to develop a differential diagnosis, and test this by looking for laboratory abnormalities that are diagnostic for an endocrine disease. This chapter will review many of these basic principles that are applicable across the field in order to provide groundwork for later chapters. Following a discussion of general hormone function and integration of endocrine systems, we will discuss the classification of hormones. Reviews of hormone synthesis, processing, and transport follow, and then we will outline the regulation of hormone secretion. Following this, we will examine the evolving field of hormone receptors and discuss nontraditional endocrine systems. The clinical relevance of the preceding material is apparent in the section covering principles of endocrine disease. Finally, we will summarize important principles in endocrine testing.


The endocrine system consists of a dizzying number of hormones, and newly discovered ones are added to the list on a regular basis. The word "hormone" comes from the Greek word "ormaein" meaning to set in motion or to spur on. This is an apt derivation, because hormones are chemicals secreted by one tissue that produce effects in distant tissues, leading to an array of physiological responses. In children, we can categorize hormones by the systems they affect, including growth, reproduction, homeostasis, and energy regulation. Many hormones play roles in multiple categories, emphasizing the complex network of interactions and the redundancy built into these processes. Table 1-1 shows how selected endocrine systems fit into this categorization, illustrating this redundancy

Table Graphic Jump Location
Table 1-1. Classes of Hormone Function with Selected Examples of Endocrine Systems



Growth is an ...

Want remote access to your institution's subscription?

Sign in to your MyAccess profile while you are actively authenticated on this site via your institution (you will be able to verify this by looking at the top right corner of the screen - if you see your institution's name, you are authenticated). Once logged in to your MyAccess profile, you will be able to access your institution's subscription for 90 days from any location. You must be logged in while authenticated at least once every 90 days to maintain this remote access.


About MyAccess

If your institution subscribes to this resource, and you don't have a MyAccess profile, please contact your library's reference desk for information on how to gain access to this resource from off-campus.

Subscription Options

AccessPediatrics Full Site: One-Year Subscription

Connect to the full suite of AccessPediatrics content and resources including 20+ textbooks such as Rudolph’s Pediatrics and The Pediatric Practice series, high-quality procedural videos, images, and animations, interactive board review, an integrated pediatric drug database, and more.

$595 USD
Buy Now

Pay Per View: Timed Access to all of AccessPediatrics

24 Hour Subscription $34.95

Buy Now

48 Hour Subscription $54.95

Buy Now

Pop-up div Successfully Displayed

This div only appears when the trigger link is hovered over. Otherwise it is hidden from view.