Human Body

Nerves and Senses

What are the similarities and differences between the nervous system and the endocrine system?

The endocrine and nervous are both regulatory systems that permit communication between cells, tissues, and organs. Both systems are devoted to maintaining homeostasis by coordinating and regulating the activities of other cells, tissues, organs, and systems. Both systems are regulated by negative feedback mechanisms. Chemical messengers are important in both systems, although their method of transmission and release differs in the two systems.

A major difference between the endocrine system and nervous system is the rate of response to a stimulus. In general, the nervous system responds to a stimulus very rapidly, often within a few milliseconds, while it may take the endocrine system seconds and sometimes hours or even days to offer a response. Furthermore, the chemical signals released by the nervous system typically act over very short distances (a synapse), while hormones in the endocrine system are generally carried by the blood to target organs. Finally, the effects of the nervous system generally last only a brief amount of time, while those of the endocrine system are longer lasting.


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