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What is meant by the synergistic effect of hormones? Give an example.

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Last updated date: 20th Jun 2024
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Step by step answer:Hormones are the chemical messengers that have low molecular weights and are conducted by the blood. They are made up of either proteins or amines, peptides, steroids, catecholamines, fatty acids, glycoproteins, etc. Synergistic effect of hormones – The word syn means two things that are considered together as one. The synergistic effect of the hormones is defined as the effect in which two or more hormones work together to produce a combined effect, that cannot be observed by a single hormone alone. Thus, the synergistic effect produces effects greater than the sum of the individual effects of the hormones. Hence, a hormone has a synergistic effect on another hormone if it enhances the responsiveness of the target organ towards that hormone or when it increases the activity of another hormone. Example of the synergistic effect of hormones – Normal sperm production requires the action of both the hormones, Testosterone, and the Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). Some other examples of the Synergistic effect of hormones can be – Production and secretion of milk by the mammary glands require the effect of estrogen, cortisol, prolactin, oxytocin, etc.
The increase of the cardiac rate of the heart requires the action of two hormones, epinephrine, and norepinephrine.
Additional Information: The different kinds of hormones interact in the body to show two types of effects, w.r.t each other. These two effects are as follows –
Antagonistic effect
Synergistic effect
Antagonistic effect of hormones –
The word anti means two things that are opposed to each other. The antagonistic effect of the hormones is defined as the effect in which two or more hormones work as opposed to each other to produce a combined effect, that cannot be observed by a single hormone alone.
Example of the synergistic effect of hormones – Regulation of the blood sugar levels requires the action of both the hormones, Insulin, and Glucagon.

Note: Hormones and enzymes are both types of secretions. The hormones are released from the ductless glands known as the endocrine glands, whereas, the enzymes are released by the duct glands known as the exocrine glands. The hormones are the low molecular weight chemicals. On the other hand, enzymes are high molecular weight compounds. Also, hormones usually work away from their origin, i.e., their targeted organs are usually away from their source or point of origin. To do so, they are conducted by the blood. Whereas, enzymes are usually released at their targeted organ only.
Examples of Hormones – progesterone hormone of the ovaries, testosterone hormone of the testes, prolactin hormone of the anterior lobe of the pituitary, etc.
Examples of Enzymes – pepsin enzyme of the chief cells of the mucosa wall of the stomach, enterokinase enzyme of the jejunum and ileum, etc.