Peptide hormones are proteins that have endocrine functions in living animals.

Notable peptide hormones

Several important peptide hormones are secreted from the pituitary gland. The anterior pituitary secretes three: prolactin, which acts on the mammary gland; adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), which acts on the adrenal cortex to regulate the secretion of glucocorticoids; and growth hormone, which acts on bone, muscle, and the liver. The posterior pituitary gland secretes antidiuretic hormone, also called vasopressin, and oxytocin. Peptide hormones are produced by many different organs and tissues, however, including the heart (atrial-natriuretic peptide (ANP) or atrial natriuretic factor (ANF)) and pancreas (glucagon, insulin and somatostatin), the gastrointestinal tract (cholecystokinin, gastrin), and adipose tissue stores (leptin).

Some neurotransmitters are secreted and released in a similar fashion to peptide hormones, and some 'neuropeptides' may be used as neurotransmitters in the nervous system in addition to acting as hormones when released into the blood. When a peptide hormone binds to receptors on the surface of the cell, a second messenger appears in the cytoplasm, which triggers intracellular responses

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