difference between exocrine glands and endocrine glands

Difference Between Exocrine Glands and Endocrine Glands

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Glands are important and present throughout the body. Firstly, what is a gland?

A gland is a group of cells or a secreting organ that excretes a chemical substance. This substance can take the form of hormones, sweat, saliva, mucus, or acids.

There are two types of glands: Exocrine glands and Endocrine glands

Exocrine Glands:

  • Exocrine glands have ducts 
  • Exocrine glands secrete enzymes on to the surface.
  • Examples: salivary glands(oral), sebaceous and sweat glands (in the skin), brunner’s glands etc;

Endocrine Glands:

  • Endocrine glands do not have ducts.
  • The hormones are secreted by the endocrine system.
  • The hormones are secreted into the bloodstream. Because of this, the hormones can act over long distances, and reach any organ in the body to coordinate activity.  
  • Examples: thyroid, parathyroids, adrenals, pituitary etc;

Let’s summarize the Difference between Exocrine glands and Endocrine Glands

Difference between Exocrine Glands and Endocrine Glands:

exocrine glands endocrine glands
Exocrine glands contain ducts These are Ductless glands
Mucous, enzymes, metabolites Hormones
Target organ
Secretion reaches the target organ or internal organ and from there it reaches ducts which are assisted. Secretions are directly poured into the blood.
Effect/No effect
The concentration of secretions varies causing no effect. The concentration of secretions varies causing diseases/ disorders.
Simple/ Complex
Exocrine glands functioning are simple. Endocrine glands functioning are complex.
Term of control
These glands have short term control of the target organ. These glands have long term control.

Bottom line:

As a result of the preceding discussion, there are even some exceptions of this they are as follows.

Exception of this is pancreas/ composite glands because it is both exocrine and endocrine glands.

  • The parts of exocrine for exception are pancreatic juice.
  • The parts of endocrine for exception are insulin and glucagon. 

Further related readings:

Difference Between Ductless and Duct Glands

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