Neurotransmitters vs Hormones
Neurotransmitters and hormones are chemicals secreted inside our brain and are largely responsible for our behavior and attitude. There are many similarities in the two compounds that make people think they are one and the same whereas in reality there are great differences between a neurotransmitter and a hormone that need to be appreciated.
The most notable difference between a neurotransmitter and a hormone pertains to the point of its release inside the body. A hormone is a compound produced by endocrine gland and is released directly into the bloodstream where it easily finds its target cells at a small distance from the point of release. On the other hand, a neurotransmitter is a compound released by a nerve terminal when the nerve is triggered by an electrical impulse. As this electrical impulse reaches the end of the nerve, it secretes a chemical compound at a special place in between the nerve cells called synapse. In comparison to hormones that take time to have their effect; these nerve cells are in direct apposition with the target cells which ensures quick delivery of the signal.
There are receptors for both hormones as well as neurotransmitters in the target cells and these receptors induce biochemical responses from the individual depending upon the type of hormone or neurotransmitter. Thus the difference between a neurotransmitter and a hormone boils down to the release mechanism and this mechanism alone decides whether the released molecule is a hormone or a neurotransmitter. Thus adrenaline is a hormone secreted by adrenaline gland directly into the bloodstream which goes to heart and the lungs. On the other hand serotonin is a neurotransmitter as it is released by a stimulated presynaptic nerve cell and acts on its neighboring postsynaptic cell.
Both hormones and neurotransmitters are vital for human beings as they play an important role in many bodily processes such as digestion, metabolism, reproduction etc. They are also important in mood control. Some people are more aggressive than others and it is a result of secretion of higher amounts of some hormones and neurotransmitters inside the body.
Difference between Neurotransmitters and Hormones
• Both neurotransmitters and hormones are chemicals secreted inside our bodies.
• While hormones are produced by endocrine gland, neurotransmitters are produced at nerve terminals when triggered by an electrical impulse.
• Hormones are secreted directly into the bloodstream whereas neurotransmitters are secreted at nerve synapses.
• Hormones can be synthesized whereas it is impossible to make neurotransmitters. They are made inside the body only.