Question Video: Identifying the Endocrine Glands Most Associated with Secondary Sexual Characteristics | Nagwa Question Video: Identifying the Endocrine Glands Most Associated with Secondary Sexual Characteristics | Nagwa

Question Video: Identifying the Endocrine Glands Most Associated with Secondary Sexual Characteristics Biology • Third Year of Secondary School

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Which of the following endocrine glands are closely associated with the development of secondary sexual characteristics? [A] The adrenal glands and the pancreas [B] the pancreas and the thyroid [C] The testes and the ovaries

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Video Transcript

Which of the following endocrine glands are closely associated with the development of secondary sexual characteristics? (A) The adrenal glands and the pancreas, (B) the pancreas and the thyroid, or (C) the testes and the ovaries.

This question is asking us to determine the function of specific glands in the human endocrine system. To do this, let’s take a quick tour of the endocrine glands that have been mentioned in the answer options. This way, we can find out which ones are closely associated with the development of secondary sexual characteristics. And we can define some key terms along the way.

Endocrine glands are groups of specialized cells that are activated by certain changes in our bodies’ internal environment. For example, some endocrine glands are activated by an increase in blood glucose concentration. This triggers the cells within the endocrine gland to produce specific chemical messengers called hormones. These hormones are then secreted into the bloodstream. The blood then transports these hormones all around the body, including to specific cells called target cells. Once hormones reach their particular target cells, they can trigger a response in those cells to cause a particular effect.

This diagram shows some of the main endocrine glands in a human body, in a biological male on the left and a biological female on the right. Let’s take a look at each of the endocrine glands that have been mentioned in the answer choices and some of their key functions. Humans tend to have two adrenal glands, which sit above each kidney. They are responsible for producing and secreting a huge range of hormones. One example that you’ve most likely heard of is adrenaline. Adrenaline is involved in the fight-or-flight response to help us react effectively to acutely stressful or dangerous situations. The pancreas is located in the abdomen, not far from the adrenal glands. And while it also secretes a huge range of hormones, these hormones are different in their structure and function to those released from the adrenal glands.

One example of a hormone that’s released from the pancreas is insulin. Insulin is usually released when blood glucose levels are too high. And it targets many different cells in the body. The result of insulin’s action aims to lower blood glucose back to within a healthy range.

The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of the neck. One of the thyroid hormones is called thyroxine, or sometimes T4. Thyroxine has various target tissues and multitudes of important functions. For example, it helps to control our brain development and functioning, physical growth when we are children, and plays a vital role in our metabolism.

The gonads, which are otherwise known as the sexual or reproductive glands, are the only glands that differ considerably between biological males and biological females. Biological females tend to have two ovaries, while biological males tend to have two testes. The gonads in both males and females secrete sex hormones. The testes tend to secrete larger quantities of a sex hormone called testosterone, and the ovaries tend to secrete larger quantities of a sex hormone called estrogen. However, both types of gland release at least small quantities of all sex hormones.

The adrenal glands also release some sex hormones. However, these are in much smaller quantities than those released by the gonads. These hormones stimulate the development of secondary sexual characteristics when a person reaches puberty. In males, this might include the development of thicker facial and body hair, while in females it often involves the development of breasts, among many other physical characteristics in both biological sexes.

Now we’ve got enough information to answer our question. The endocrine glands that are most closely associated with the development of secondary sexual characteristics are (C), the testes and the ovaries.

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