Comparison between the nervous system and the endocrine system

The nervous system and endocrine system interact and operate together in order to help the body achieve homeostasis. Despite both systems having the same goal to achieve a stable internal environment within the organism they exhibit differences in terms of how they operate.

Speed of transmission

In the nervous system the speed of the transmission is relatively fast, as the message only needs to be transmitted across minor synaptic distances. Conversely, in the endocrine system the speed of hormonal signals are generally slower. This is because the message is usually transmitted over long distances and the hormone needs to find its appropriate receptor to bind and initiate a response

Duration of response

In the nervous system the duration of the response is relatively short. Once a neural impulse has been sent the neurotransmitter at the synapse has been inactivated relatively quickly and nothing further happens once the signal is transmitted. In contrast, in the endocrine system, hormones are typically longer sustaining responses. This is because hormones continue to circulate the blood once they have been secreted and the time to inactivate the response through being metabolized by the body is highly variable. Some hormones can remain for only a few minutes where others can persist up to a week.

Signalling molecules

In the nervous system the signalling molecules used are neurotransmitters, on the other hand the endocrine system utilises hormones.

See also