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Endocrine Friends

by Greg Crowther


Context

This quasi-educational song was written for a colleague, Jonathan Pottle, when he left my institution to take a tenure-track position elsewhere.


Lyrics

Well, autocrine signals are insular cries,
And paracrine signals are so localized.
But one type of signal is sure to persist
While synaptic signals subside....

Endocrine, friends; endocrine, friends!
We will take heed of whatever they send!
Endocrine, friends; endocrine, friends!
We’ll have receptors for them ’til the end!

Now, we haven’t seen you since seasons of old
(Far, far away; so far away),
But when you send out something, we grab ahold
(Far, far away; so far away),
Your input incites us to grow and repair,
Or helps us stay warm in the cold....

Endocrine friends; endocrine friends!
We will take heed of whatever you send!
Endocrine friends; endocrine friends!
We’ll have receptors for you ’til the end!
We’ll have receptors for you ’til the end!


Other Files

karaoke

MP3 (demo)

sheet music


Lesson Plan

Songs like this one can be used during class meetings and/or in homework assignments. Either way, the song will be most impactful if students DO something with it, as opposed to just listening.

An initial, simple follow-up activity could be to answer the study questions below. A more extensive interaction with the song might entail (A) learning to sing it, using an audio file and/or sheet music as a guide, and/or (B) designing kinesthetic movements ("dance moves") to embody it. The latter activity could begin with students identifying the most important or most challenging content of the song, and deciding how to illustrate that particular content.


Study Questions

(1) According to this song (and many textbooks), one can divide all cell-to-cell communications into four categories. What are the four categories?

(2) Regarding the previous question, hormones tend to last longer than signals in the other three categories. Why?

(3) This song offers an analogy between endocrine communication and long-distance friendships. In this analogy, what would be the friendship equivalent of a hormone? What would be the friendship equivalent of the bloodstream?

(4) What is an example of a hormone that "incites" cells to grow and repair?

(5) What is an example of a hormone that "incites" cells to stay warm in the cold?

(6) This song is NOT about exocrine secretions. What is the difference between endocrine function and exocrine function?

(7) Considering the specific content covered by this song, is there anything important that is missing, unclear, or misleading? If so, what?

(Answers may be found on the answers page.)