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While the Endocrine System emits hormones that act on the inside of the body, chemicals that reach the outside of the body and act on its surfaces (or on the surfaces of body cavities) are released by glands that are part of the Exocrine system[1].

Chemicals produced by the exocrine glands are not just released openly into tissue areas but are channelled through ducts so that they reach their target (somewhere on the body's exterior)[2].

Unlike Exocrine glands, Endocrine glands secrete hormones that travel through the blood, and are responded to when something with a specific receptor on its surface recognises that hormone[3].

The pancreas is an example of an organ that has an exocrine glandular system (as well as an endocrine one). Digestive enzymes secreted by the pancreas are essential in the intestine[4].


  1. Cavendish (2010:62) Anatomy and Physiology: An Illustrated Guide
  2. Cavendish (2010:62)Anatomy and Physiology: An Illustrated Guide
  3. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt website "Sciences" section, http://www.cliffsnotes.com/cliffsnotes/sciences/what-are-the-endocrine-and-exocrine-systems accessed 28/11/2013
  4. Pandol (2010:1) The Exocrine Pancreas
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