The majority of living forms depend for their functioning upon two classes of biocatalysts, the enzymes and the hormones. These biocatalysts permit the diverse chemical reactions of the organism to proceed at 38°C with a specificity and at rates frequently unattainable in vitro at elevated temperatures with similar reactants.
The physiologic importance of enzymes and hormones is evident not only under normal circumstances, but is reflected clinically in the diverse descriptions of errors of metabolism, due to lack or deficiency of one or more enzymes, and the numerous hypo- and hyperfunctioning states resulting from imbalance of hormonal supply.
Inasmuch as both enzymes and hormones function, with rare exception, to accelerate the rates of processes in cells, investigators have sought possible interrelationships and interactions of enzymes and hormones, particularly as a basis for the mechanism of hormonal action. It has seemed logical to hypothesize that hormones, while not essential for reactions to proceed but nevertheless affecting the rates of reactions, may function by altering either the concentration or activity of the prime cellular catalysts, the enzymes. This proposed influence of hormones on enzymic activity might be a primary, direct effect achieved by the hormone participating as an integral part of an enzyme system, or an indirect influence based upon the hormone altering the concentration of available enzyme and/or substrate utilized by a particular enzyme.
It is the purpose of this presentation to describe a relatively few, but better defined, examples of the more direct relationships of enzymes and hormones. Five examples of enzyme-hormone interaction will be presented, based on the criterion that an effect of the hormone has been demonstrated on addition of the hormone in vitro to a purifled, or partially purified, enzyme system.
- Copyright © 1960 by the American Academy of Pediatrics