AP Biology : Understanding Glands

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Biology

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Understanding Glands

The pancreas is responsible for regulating blood sugar levels through the release of insulin and glucagon. In Type I Diabetic individuals the body has high blood sugar due to the inability to produce insulin, which is responsible for lowering blood sugar. In an individual with Type II Diabetes the body produces insulin, however, the receptors have become insensitive to the presence of insulin. What effect will injecting additional insulin have in an individual with Type II Diabetes?

Possible Answers:

It will reduce glucagon levels

It will reduce blood sugar levels

It will increase blood sugar levels

It will have little to no effect

Correct answer:

It will have little to no effect

Explanation:

Because insulin receptors have been desensitized to insulin, the addition of more insulin will not have any effect. This is why Type II Diabetes is much more difficult to treat than Type I. The recommended course of action for individuals with Type II diabetes is to eat healthy and exercise.

Example Question #2 : Understanding Glands

While walking home from class one afternoon, you take a shortcut that leads you in front of a house that is guarded by a huge, barking dog. Unfortunately, you are terrified of dogs! Though the dog is unable to escape its yard, as you walk past you notice yourself breathing more quickly than normal and you can feel your heart racing and your palms sweating. Which of your glands is most likely responsible for your physiological reaction to the dog?

Possible Answers:

Pineal gland

Adrenal medulla

Anterior pituitary

Adrenal cortex

Correct answer:

Adrenal medulla

Explanation:

The adrenal gland is almost certainly responsible for your reaction, as this gland contains the adrenal medulla, which is capable of releasing epinephrine. During stressful situations, the sympathetic nervous system triggers the fight-or-flight response. During this response, sympathetic nerves stimulate the adrenal medulla, which then releases epinephrine. Epinephrine raises blood sugar levels and increases blood pressure, brain oxygen consumption, and heart rate. It prepares an individual to either fight a threat (such as a dog), or run away from it.

The anterior pituitary is capable of releasing a number of hormones including growth hormone, thyroid-stimulating hormone, and prolactin.

The pineal gland is involved in biorhythms and sleep patterns. 

The adrenal cortex is stimulated by adrenocorticotropic hormone and releases corticosteroids in response to long-term stress, such as sleep or food deprivation.

Example Question #3 : Understanding Glands

Which of the following hormones is not released by the anterior pituitary gland?

Possible Answers:

Prolactin

Growth hormone (GH)

Oxytocin

Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH)

Correct answer:

Oxytocin

Explanation:

The anterior pituitary is responsible for releasing a large number of hormones; however, oxytocin is released by the posterior pituitary. Two of oxytocin's most important functions include stimulating uterus contractions and stimulating milk production by the mammary glands. 

Prolactin stimulates milk release from the mammary glands.

Thyroid-stimulating hormone stimulates the release of hormones from the thyroid gland.

Growth hormone stimulates the growth of bones and stimulates the liver to release insulin-like growth factors.

It is important to note that at least one hormone from the hypothalamus is used to regulate each of the hormones released by the anterior pituitary—for example, the anterior pituitary gland will only release prolactin if the hypothalamus releases prolactin-releasing hormone. 

Example Question #4 : Understanding Glands

Chemical messengers released in the blood to stimulate or inhibit the function of another organs are known as __________.

Possible Answers:

enzymes

platelets

second messengers

hormones

electrolytes

Correct answer:

hormones

Explanation:

A hormone is a chemical formed in one organ and carried by the blood to stimulate or inhibit the function of another organ.

Enzymes are protein molecules that carry out catalytic functions. Electrolytes are simply ions dissolved in solution. Second messengers are relay molecules between a signal and its ultimate effect, such as the molecules that carry signals from the cell membrane to the nucleus to affect transcription. Platelets are cell fragments in the blood that help form clots to heal injuries.

Example Question #4 : Understanding Glands

Which of the following is produced by the pituitary gland?

Possible Answers:

Testosterone

Epinephrine

Follicle-stimulating hormone

Estrogen

Insulin

Correct answer:

Follicle-stimulating hormone

Explanation:

The hormones secreted by the pituitary gland are FLAT PEG: Follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, adrenocorticotropic hormone, thyroid-stimulating hormone, prolactin, endorphins, and growth hormone. Testosterone is produced in the testes in males, and in the adrenal gland in both males and females. Insulin is produced by the pancreas. Estrogen is produced by the ovaries in females, and in the adrenal gland in both males and females.

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