Difference between Exocrine and Endocrine Glands – Exocrine vs Endocrine Glands

Exocrine Glands Definition

Exocrine glands are those equipped with ducts which allow cells to secrete their product through these ducts, so that they are released onto the surfaces of the targeted organs or cells. The cells in the exocrine glands are connected to the epithelium covering them with small tubular ducts that transport the secretions to the target locations. Exocrine glands’ secretions are not mixed into the bloodstream, as some of these substances could even cause harm in the blood if they are released.

The exocrine glands’ hormones could be ions, enzymes mucins, water or chemical compounds that aid in the normal functioning in the human body. The glands that exocrine are multicellular or unicellular, based on the degree of complexity of the glands as well as their function. Unicellular glands comprise single cell ones that release mucus directly onto the epithelium’s surface. Multicellular glands consist of more than one cell. They have the macroscopic appearance of ducts. Exocrine glands comprise one secretory organ that is surrounded by connective tissue. Each unit is linked by a second duct, which will eventually form the principal duct of the gland.


Multicellular exocrine glands are further classified into different types based in the design of the gland along with the branching structure of ducts. Exocrine glands that do not have branched drains are referred to as simple exocrine glands. On the other hand, those with branches are referred to as compound exocrine glands. Exocrine glands having round secretory structures are known as alveolar or acinar glands and glands with tubular secretory cells are known as tubular glands.

Because exocrine glands release secretions onto the epithelial cell layer, they may also be classified into merocrine, apocrine and holocrine, based on of the mechanism they use to release of these secretions. The secretory part that is part of an exocrine gland has cells that are equipped with a well-developed Golgi apparatus and the endoplasmic-reticulum. The types of glands that are exocrine include the sweat gland, the liver pancreatic acini salivary glands, mammary glands, and so on.


Examples of Exocrine Glands


The liver can be described as the biggest exocrine gland within the body that plays a role in the metabolic process of the majority of biomolecules. The liver is located in the upper part of the abdomen, and is considered to be organ of the digestion system. The primary purpose of the organ is to break down of fat through the release of bile juice , which is a source of cholesterol and bile acids. The liver is comprised of specialized tissues made up of hepatocytes, which are organized in particular patterns inside the gland. The bile juice produced by the liver gets transported by the common bile duct to the gall bladder prior to passing into the stomach.

Salivary glands

There are three kinds of salivary glands found in humans: parotid glands, submandibular the sublingual glands, and parotid glands. They are found in the buccal cavity and produce approximately 1 to 1.5 milliliters of saliva per day. The saliva generated by the glands has amylase, which aids in the digestion of carbohydrates into monomeric forms. The amylase produced by the glands gets into the mouth via the use of various ducts. Salivary glands regulate the parasympathetic nervous system and the principal neurotransmitter that is that plays a role in this process is Acetylcholine.


Endocrine Glands Definition

The endocrine glands are those that don’t contain a conduit system, and release hormones or secretions directly into bloodstream. The products of the endocrine glands are referred to as hormones. are released by cells in an interstitial liquid. Then, they disperse into the bloodstream, without having to pass through the canal system. The hormones are usually very active in small quantities and can have a wide-ranging effect since they can be released straight into bloodstreams. The absence of ducts in glands that regulate hormones has been thought by some to result from the fact they ultimately lost their connection to their epithelium at the time of development.

The endocrine glands are among the most vascularized organs of the body. The thin-walled capillaries facilitate the transport of hormones from the cells that secrete it to the fluid of interstitial. The hormones produced by the endocrine glands are usually steroids or proteins, and they are produced by the glandular epithelium , which is not myoepithelial cells. The transfer of hormones out of the glands to target organs is dependent on receptors that could be present on glands that produce the hormones or on cells close to them.


The time it takes to respond to the actions of the endocrine hormones are generally longer since they need to be delivered to the place of action. The endocrine glands are responsible for monitoring the long-term activity of the body and affect the general metabolism and development in the human body. The secretory cells of glands that produce hormones have a cell membrane that is thin to allow the flow of hormones. They are abundant in the endoplasmic Reticulum. The hormones that diffuse out of the glands are carried out by receptors on either the secretory cells or surrounding cells.

Endocrine glands are also divided into three distinct kinds including trabecular type; follicular type and disseminated type. Trabecular glands have cells that are placed in cords. Follicular glands are composed of cells that are that are arranged in spheres. the disseminated type has cells that are scattered. The most common glands that are endocrine include the pituitary gland, adrenal gland gland, and thyroid glands, for instance.


Examples of Endocrine Glands

Pituitary Gland

The pituitary gland is one of the most vital endocrine gland the body, as it controls the functions of the other glands of the endocrine system. It is a small , pea-shaped gland that is located in the lower part of the skull. It is connected to the hypothalamus in the brain by a tiny stalk. The pituitary gland is comprised of two distinct components: the anterior pituitary as well as the posterior pituitary. It is more prominent portion of the gland, while the posterior pituitary has an area that is smaller. The posterior and anterior pituitary glands secrete various hormones that have different purposes. The most important hormones produced from the pituitary gland comprise growth hormone, thyroid stimulating hormone and the hormone oxytocin. The production of hormones from this gland can be controlled via the hypothalamus which is then controlled by a negative feedback system.

Adrenal Gland

Two adrenal glands located in the kidneys on the top in which each gland are further separated in the adrenal cortex as well as the adrenal cortex. The glands are flattened appearance and have a half-moon form. The size and shape of the gland are determined by the physical condition of the person. The adrenal cortex as well as the adrenal Medulla are regarded as two different glands due to their different the structure, their origins and function. The adrenal cortex produces mineralocorticoids, glucocorticoids and the hormones androgens. The hormones listed above are steroids. The adrenal medulla produces norepinephrine as well as epinephrine. These assist in controlling the blood vessels. The adrenal hormones glands assist in the metabolic process of various biomolecules, including carbohydrates proteins, amino acids, and acids.


Difference between Exocrine and Endocrine Glands – Exocrine vs Endocrine Glands

CharacteristicsExocrine GlandsEndocrine Glands
DefinitionExocrine glands are those with ducts that permit the cells to release their substances through these ducts, so they can release them on the surface of organs or cells they are targeting.The glands known as the Endocrine glands are those that don’t possess a drain system, and release hormones or secretions directly into bloodstream.
DuctsExocrine glands are comprised of at least one or two ducts which move their secretions.The Endocrine glands are glands that are not ductless that release hormones directly into bloodstreams.
SecretionsExocrine glands release exocrine hormones. They are mucins, enzymes water, ions, etc.The secretions of the endocrine glands are hormones.
Site to be targetedThe sites that are targeted by the gland are situated near the gland that is exocrine.The targeted sites of glands that regulate the hormones are absent from the gland.
ResponseExocrine glands typically show a rapid responses as the release of the hormones directly into the organs of target.The glands of the endocrine system exhibit a delayed response since the secretions have to be delivered to the point of reaction.
TypesExocrine glands can be distinguished into various types, including multicellular and unicellular merocrine, exocrine, holocrine and apocrine glands, and many more.Endocrine glands come in three distinct kinds: the trabecular, follicular and disseminated type.
FunctionExocrine glands track the activities and functions of the organs targeted.The glands that control the hormones regulate all aspects of the structure and growth and development of the targeted organs.
ExamplesA few exocrine glands that are examples include the liver sweat gland pancreatic acini mammary glands, salivary glands, and so on.The most common glands that are endocrine include the pituitary gland, adrenal gland, and thyroid gland, among others.

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