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Target organ


The human body is made up of 206 bones , more than 5 billion cells and 21 organs that are grouped into different systems: endocrine, digestive, circulatory, respiratory, excretory, nervous and reproductive. Each of the organs of the human body performs a specific and vital function to preserve health, and absolutely all of them are considered target organs.

What is a target organ? Surely you have heard this terminology several times and still do not know its definition. The truth is that in the medicinal field the concept of the target organ plays a fundamental role, especially in the affections and functions of the endocrine system . If you want to know what a target organ is, keep reading this eHealth article where we explain in detail everything you need to know.

What is a target organ?

Target organs are the tissues of the human body that react to an internal or external stimulus . While all organs are targeted, not all organs respond to the same stimulus. In endocrinology, the definition of a target organ is associated with the organs that have the ability to react to a specific stimulus, such as the production of certain hormones that generates a certain function or action by certain organs. That is, hormones are secreted, some organs associated with these substances react and from this they are considered target organs of that hormone.

A good example to understand the concept of a target organ is what happens in the female body when the pituitary gland or the ovaries secrete the hormone oxytocin in a pregnant woman. What happen? The uterus reacts by activating contractions so that labor is possible. In this case, the uterus is a target organ for this hormone, as it reacts to its stimulus.

However, following the example of oxytocin, the uterus is not the only target organ for this hormone. It turns out that the breasts also react to the stimulus of oxytocin, since this hormone is responsible for stimulating the cells that surround the alveoli and these cells respond by contracting for the possible and correct expulsion of breastfeeding.

That said, the importance of understanding that all organs are targeted, but react to different stimuli, is clear . In other areas of medicine, the concept of target organ is also handled in the same way, for example, in radiotherapy the tissue that receives radiation as a treatment for a disease is known as a target organ. In this case the stimulus is radiation and the response of the organ is the reaction.

You may also be interested in:   Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

Target organ of diseases

Although the organs can respond to internal stimuli to fulfill their correct function, it is also possible that an organ is a target for a disease , that is, that it responds to the stimulus of a toxic agent by becoming ill or by stopping working normally.

In this sense, it is worth explaining that there are certain toxins that have a negative influence on certain organs of the body , for example, the lungs are the target organ of chlorine, ammonia, carbon monoxide and any type of smoke. The brain reacts to the stimulus of lead, mercury, and pesticidal solvents. Also, there are diseases that affect specific target organs. An example of this is cancer, since each type of cancer has its target organ.

Target organs of diabetes

The diabetes , although it is caused by a malfunction of the pancreas ( how it works discovers ) and misuse of the hormone insulin, is a degenerative condition, ie over time will affect the operation of other tissues of the body .

Therefore, it would be a mistake to consider that the only target organ of diabetes is the pancreas . In contrast, the heart, eyesight, brain, nervous system, and gums are among the target organs associated with poorly controlled or untreated diabetes. Like diabetes, any disease can have one or more target organs.

External stimuli?

Yes, it is possible for an organ to react to an external stimulus, for example, alcohol consumption has the liver as its target organ, a tissue that reacts to consumption by metabolizing the alcohol load in the drink. However, excessive alcohol consumption stimulates liver function in such a way that it ends up affecting the target organ, causing conditions such as fatty liver and alcoholic liver cirrhosis . Therefore, there are stimuli that can turn negative when they are constant and toxic.


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Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of ​​Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.

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