The Liver Removes Circulating Hormones

The liver helps to remove and degrade many circulating hormones. Insulin is degraded in many organs, but the liver and kidneys are by far most important. The presence of insulin receptors on the surface of hepatocytes suggests that the binding of insulin to these receptors results in degradation of some insulin molecules. There is also degradation of insulin by proteases of hepatocytes that do not involve the insulin receptor.

Glucagon and growth hormone are degraded mainly by the liver and the kidneys. The liver may also degrade various GI hormones (e.g., gastrin), but the kidneys and other organs probably contribute more significantly to inactivating these hormones.

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