How stress affects the endocrine system

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David McQuillan (2008). Otago Polytechnic


The hormonal cascade of the fight or flight response which is the emotional aspect of the stress reponse propogates through three main steps

  1. Stimulation of the hypothalamus by the amygdala causes the release of corticotrophin-releasing factor (CRF).
  2. CRF then stimulates the pituitary gland causing release of adrenocorticotrophin (ACTH) into the bloodstream
  3. ACTH travels through the bloodstream and stimulates the adrenal glands causing the release of ephinephrine (adrenaline) and glucocorticoids including cortisol.


The effects of ephinephrine (adrenaline)


The effects of cortisol and other glucocorticoids


Involvement of other biochemicals (Klein, 2004)

New research is proving the involvement many other biochemicals in the stress response

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