Differences Between Enzymes And Hormones

In fields related to biochemistry, enzymes and hormones are brought up in very similar contexts, and it is understandable that they can get easily confused.

Differences Between Enzymes And Hormones

This guide will clear up what their definitions are and some easy ways to differentiate them.

Enzymes are the biological catalysts that can speed up the metabolic reaction rate of biochemical reactions without changing their own properties.

They are proteins and are often referred to under the umbrella of biocatalysts. A common example of an enzyme is amylase that is found in saliva.

Hormones on the other hand are molecules usually produced by organisms, cells, or glands to trigger a cellular reaction that will target a specific tissue or organ some distance away.

Common examples of hormones that act like this are peptides or steroids which are categorizations for more specific types of hormones. They are often also referred to as chemical messengers.

More Specific Differences Between Enzymes And Hormones

More Specific Differences Between Enzymes And Hormones

Where Do The Reactions Take Place?

For the most part, enzymes will perform a reaction at their place of origin. The easiest example of this to memorize is that their reactions are usually performed in the cell that they are produced in.

For hormones, their reactions travel a lot further; their reactions are usually far from the origin of the hormone.

What Is Their Role?

Enzymes are biological catalysts that by their definition are there to catalyze biological reactions.

Hormones do not fill this role and are not catalysts, they are simply present to start biochemical reactions instead of catalyzing them. 

Enzymes increase the rate of metabolic physiological processes, while hormones may be excitatory or inhibitory with the reactions they cause. Enzymes can not be used in metabolic reactions, while hormones can be.

Enzymes can not regulate morphogenesis, while hormones generally can, especially if they are acting as a secondary sex character.

What Are They?

Enzymes are usually proteins however a common exception to this rule is ribozymes, an RNA that behaves like a catalyst. Hormones can take a variety of forms, such as amines, phenolics, compounds, polypeptides, or terpenoids.

Where Are They Formed?

Where Are They Formed?

Enzymes are formed in exocrine glands. Hormones are formed in endocrine glands. Enzymes are generally produced in salivary glands, within the stomach and pancreas, as well as some glands within the small intestine.

Hormones can be formed in the pancreas as well, but are also formed within thyroid glands, pituitary glands, thymus glands, and adrenal glands.

Do They Translocate?

Enzymes do not translocate from parts of the cell to other parts of the cell while hormones can display polar translocation.

What Is Their State After A Reaction?

Performing as a catalyst, enzymes are not altered by a reaction and after the reaction is finished, they are left unchanged and can be reused after this.

Hormones on the other hand are not catalysts, and after they take part in a biological reaction their composition is permanently shifted and can not be reused.

How Does Their Molecular Weight Compare?

Enzymes are identified as macromolecules that have a higher molecular weight, while hormones tend to have a significantly lower molecular weight.

Are They Able To Diffuse?

Enzymes are not able to diffuse through cell membranes, however hormones are able to diffuse through cell membranes.

How Do They Get To The Site Of Their Reaction?

As previously stated, most enzymes’ reactions take place within the cell they are produced in (they act intracellularly) but if this is not the case, they are carried by ducts to the site of their intended reaction.

Hormones by comparison are usually carried by blood to get to the organ they are aiming for.

Can Their Reactions Be Reversed?

Enzymes catalyze reversible reactions while hormones control reactions that are always non-reversible.

Do Their Actions Change Based Upon Their Concentration?

The reaction rate of an enzyme can increase up to a certain threshold if their concentration reaches a certain point.

Hormones on the other hand, can cause metabolic diseases or disorders if they are either overproduced, or if there is a deficiency in their concentration.

Do They Interact With Each other?

Enzymes depend on the messages sent by hormones, while hormones do not rely on enzymes.

How Quickly Do They Act?

Enzymes generally act quite quickly due to acting intracellularly.

Hormones, by comparison, can be quick-acting but can also be slow-acting, displaying a delay period between the time the hormone is released to the point the reaction is carried out.

Do They Change As The Body Ages?

Enzymes generally do not change with the body’s age. On the other hand, hormones with age are produced less and disappear less often.

Final Thoughts

So as you can recognize from this significantly sized list of differences, enzymes and hormones have many big differences and the reason they usually get mixed up is that they often interact with each other.

Jennifer Dawkins