In common with the nervous system, the endocrine system has a role for control and coordination throughout the body.
Whilst the nervous system deals mostly in very short term control (on a time scale of milliseconds to seconds), the endocrine system may exert relatively short term (seconds to minutes) or long term (days to weeks) control.
Structurally, the endocrine system comprises a number of separate organs and tissues scattered throughout the body. These include:
- The hypothalamus which is part of the brain
- The pituitary (hypophysis) attached to the underside of the brain
- The thyroid, situated in the neck close to the larynx
- The parathyroids, associated with the thyroid but comprising separate structures
- The adrenals, situated on top of each kidney
- The endocrine portion of the pancreas
- The ovaries or testes