Enzymes and hormones are biogenic substances present in all living organisms, like both plants and animals.
They are both secreted by specific glands in the body, like the exocrine and endocrine types.
While an enzyme is just a catalyst in a biochemical reaction, the hormone is a signaling agent.
Thus, their functions and roles are quite different in the body, as described below.
Difference between Enzymes and Hormones
|They are only proteins in nature and may have a metallic group.
|They can be proteins, amino acids, steroids, etc. See types of hormones for detail.
|Enzymes have vitamins and inorganic elements are prosthetic groups. Without which, they do not act.
|They have no prosthetic groups.
|Relatively large in size
|Small in size.
|Catalysts to enhance the rate of reactions
|The signal passes from one cell to another or between organs.
|They stay as such after their function.
|They are damaged during the process and hence cannot be reused
|They function under strict conditions of temperature and pH in the body.
|They are not limited by temperature or pH but controlled by the brain or external factors.
|Formation and action
|They are formed and also act at the site of action
|They are formed and act at a distant site
|Contribution to life
|They have limited but essential functions
|They have diverse functions to control body growth, reproduction and physiology.
|Hydrolases, oxidases, isomerase, etc. in both plants and animals
|Oxytocin, testosterone, cortisol in animals.
Abscisic acid, cytokines, and gibberellins in plants.
Also, their formation and secretion vary in both plants and animals.
Enzymes are bio-catalysts that help in speeding up biochemical reactions.
While hormones are substances that act as messengers to communicate between cells and organs.
So the above difference is common in animals and plants.
But there are also differences in only animals. Before you read further, read the hormones of plants and animals.
|In animals, enzymes are synthesized and secreted by exocrine glands
|While the hormones are synthesized and secreted by endocrine glands
|They are released near the site of action.
|They act at the distant part of the gland and hence are carried by the blood to distant organs.
|Regulation of secretion
|Enzymes are released when the substrate is present.
|Hormones are released based on positive and negative feedback mechanisms as a part of the body’s homeostasis.
|Their function is to help convert a substrate into a product.
|Their function is to pass a signal which can stimulate or inhibit the physiological process.
|Enzymes are mostly denatured due to changes in pH or temperature
|Hormones are intentionally destroyed by the body process as a part of the regulation of stimulus.
|Mostly enzyme deficiency can cause diseases. The diseases are less severe comparatively.
|Hormonal diseases can be due to both aspects. That is, a decrease in secretion or an increase in secretion leads to diseases. For example, hypo and hyperthyroidism.
These hormonal diseases are quite severe.
|Enzymes are in work after getting messages from hormones
|They convey messages and get destroyed due to the presence of enzymes.
|Variation with age
|They are the same and do not change drastically with age.
|They tend to change with age. As the age grows, some hormones start to appear, and at old age, some hormones start to disappear, like in menopause.
Thus enzymes’ and hormones’ functions and features differ from each other.
But both of them are essential to the body and can cause serious disorders if their levels are imbalanced.