Hormones and neurotransmitters are different types of signaling molecules produced by animal brains. Between the two, they are largely responsible for the behavior and attitude of the organism.
The primary difference between hormones and neurotransmitters are their macronutrient make-up: hormones can be proteins, lipids, or cholesterols; neurotransmitters are proteins. Therefore, the two molecules can be comprised of the same material, but do not have to be.
More specifically, the main difference between hormones and neurotransmitters is their point of origin. Hormones are produced in endocrine glands and then released into the blood stream where they travel long distances (biologically speaking) and eventually affect most aspects of development.
Neurotransmitters, on the other hand, are released into the synaptic gap by a terminal of a stimulated nerve cell. After stimulation, the the signal moves a very small distance to another postsynaptic nerve cell, carrying a message that triggers a response.
What are hormones?
A hormone is a conglomerate of living cells which circulates in blood and produces a stimulatory effect on the activity of cells. Simply put: hormones are chemical messengers that facilitate the communication between different parts of the entire body by sending chemical signals from one to
Hormones can be polypeptides, amines, terpenoids, steroids, or phenolic compounds — a wide variety of possibilities (which is why balancing hormones can be a tricky life’s work). Initiation and maintenance of sexual development, food metabolism, body temperature, and mood are all affected by hormones.
Since hormones are extremely powerful molecules, just a few hormones can have a significant effect on the body. Also, hormones are destroyed after their action, so they are constantly requiring regeneration. In animals, hormones are released into the bloodstream by endocrine glands and circulate throughout the body until their destination is found. Endocrine glands are a collection of glands that govern dozens of bodily functions: pituitary gland, pineal gland, pancreas, liver, thymus, thyroid gland, adrenal gland, ovary, and testis are all endocrine glands.
What are neurotransmitters?
Though neurotransmitters transmit messages like hormones do, they do so in a completely different way. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that transmit a signal between a neuron to a target cell. The
coexistence of multiple neurotransmitters in the synapse allows neurons to send multiple messages at
the same time.
Once the presynaptic neuron is stimulated by a nerve impulse, neurotransmitters are released into the synapse from the axon terminal. The released neurotransmitters diffuse across the synapse and bind to the specific receptors on the postsynaptic neuron. In other words, they are chemicals released at the end of a nerve cell by the arrival of a separate nerve impulse. They then transmit the impulse into another neuron, muscle or some other structure, leading to movement, ideas, or numerous other bodily functions.