Enzymes vs. Hormones

Enzymes and hormones are biological molecules. Enzymes are catalysts that take part in different biological activities and increase the rate of reaction in the body. On the contrary, hormones are the chemical messengers in the body that provide a signal to the cell to perform various functions. The function is the main difference between enzymes and hormones.

Both enzymes and hormones are important biochemical materials for all living beings. Both enzymes and hormones differ from each other in many aspects. Enzymes show their action on the site where they are produced, whereas the hormones act distantly from the cell where they are secreted and travel through the body fluids. The dysfunction in the enzymes causes a few chances of diseases. On the other hand, hormones are the main cause of body growth and development so that hormones dysfunction may give rise to serious life-long disorders.

Enzymes are substrate-specific and affected by the pH of the medium and temperature. Their functions are regulated within the cells. On the contrary, hormones trigger the cell to perform the specific role as well as control and coordinate the several activities of the body.

Comparison Table

Basis for ComparisonEnzymesHormones
DefinitionEnzymes are biological catalysts that take part in chemical processes.Hormones are biological substances that act as messengers in the regulation of metabolism and timing and speed of the processes in the body.
Molecular weightHigher molecular weightLow molecular weight
Site of actionShow action at the place of formationShow action far from the site of production
Diffusion through the cell membraneNon-diffusibleDiffuse through the cell membrane
OriginProduced in exocrine glandsProduced in endocrine glands
Factors affectingParticular temperature and pHSome external factors
SpecificitySubstrate specificTarget cell-specific
Metabolic activityTake part in metabolic activityRegulate metabolism
Effect of ageNot affect the ageShow actions with age, e.g., puberty, menopause
DependencyStarts function when getting a message from the hormonesDo not depend on enzymes
Occurrence of diseaseCause a few diseasesHormonal disorders are common
UtilityEnzymes can be reused after the functionHormones cannot be reused
FunctionAct as a catalystAct as chemical messengers
ExamplesOxidoreductase, transferase, hydrolase etc.Thyroid, insulin glucagon, etc.

What are enzymes?

Enzymes are high molecular weight chemical compounds present in both plants and animals. Their role is to catalyze the rate of a chemical reaction. Enzymes are secreted by the glands having ducts and are responsible for accelerating the rate of reaction. Enzymes do not translocate from one part to another part of the cell and show reactions and their place of production.

All enzymes are proteins except the ribozyme. But it does not mean that all proteins are enzymes. Enzymes are also used industrially in fermentation processes, baking, medicines, preservatives, food processing industries, and textile industries.


Enzymes have six classes based on reactions executed; Oxidoreductase, Transferase, Hydrolases, Lyases, Isomerase, and Ligases.

  • Oxidoreductase: This group of enzymes takes part in oxidation-reduction reactions.
  • Transferase: These enzymes play a role in carrying a functional group from one molecule to another.
  • Hydrolases: Enzymes of this group take part in the hydrolysis of the various compounds.
  • Lyases: These enzymes help in the addition or removal of the bonds by the different mode other than hydrolysis or oxidation and results in the formation of a new bond.
  • Isomerase: This group of enzymes is responsible for the structural changes in the molecules and results in the isomerization reactions.
  • Ligases: Ligate means “to join.” So, this group of enzymes helps in the binding of the two molecules with the use of ATP.

What are hormones?

Hormones are biological compounds secreted from the endocrine glands, which are ductless. This is the reason that hormones are secreted directly into the blood. Hormones act as a chemical messenger and help in the cell to cell communication. These signals are circulated through the body fluids. Cells get messages through hormones to perform specific functions. Nowadays, growth hormones are synthesized through Recombinant DNA technology that is responsible for increasing the height of a person.


There are nine glands that secrete various hormones. Each hormone has a specific function to perform.

  1. Hypothalamus: This gland secretes the anti-diuretic hormone, oxytocin, and some other hormones that stimulate the pituitary gland. The hormones of this gland influence the nervous system and hormonal system.
  2. Pituitary Gland: This gland secretes an adrenocorticotrophic hormone, which influences the growth, reproduction, breastfeeding, and hormone regulation.
  3. Pineal Gland: The major hormone of the pineal gland is melatonin, which influences the sleep cycle.
  4. Thyroid Gland: Major hormones of the thyroid gland are tri-iodothyronine, thyroxine, and calcitonin, which influence the metabolism and bone health.
  5. Parathyroid Gland: Its major hormone is a parathyroid hormone, which influences the calcium and vitamin D regulation.
  6. Adrenal Gland: It secretes adrenaline, noradrenaline, cortisol, and aldosterone, which influence the stress response and blood pressure.
  7. Pancreas: Its hormones are insulin, glucagon, and somatostatin, which controls the blood sugar.
  8. Ovaries: Ovaries are present only in females and secrete estrogen and progesterone. These hormones influence on female characteristics.
  9. Testes: Testes are present only in males and secrete testosterone, which influences the male characteristics.

Key Differences between Enzymes and Hormones

  1. Enzymes are protein in nature (except ribozyme), whereas hormones are protein and steroid.
  2. Enzymes are giant molecules with higher molecular weight, whereas hormones have low molecular weight.
  3. Enzymes are non-diffusible through the cell membrane, whereas hormones have the ability of diffusion through the cell membrane.
  4. Enzymes are a biological catalyst, whereas hormones merely inhibit or trigger any reaction.
  5. Enzymes perform their function at the place where they are formed, whereas hormones travel to their target site through the bloodstream to complete the task.
  6. Enzymes can be reused after their functions, whereas hormones cannot be reused and degenerated.
  7. Enzymes play a role in metabolism, whereas hormones regulate metabolic activity and trigger the cells to perform body functions.
  8. Enzymes depend on hormones to receive signals to perform a specific function, whereas hormones do not depend on the enzymes for their roles.
  9. Enzymes show enhanced action to a certain limit upon excess quantity, whereas an increase or decrease in hormone concentration leads to metabolic disorders.
  10. Dysfunction of enzymes does not lead to any severe disorder, whereas dysfunction in hormones may lead to severe diseases.
  11. Enzymes’ production is not affected by aging, whereas hormones’ production and actions change according to aging.


In conclusion, enzymes and hormones are biological molecules that play vital functions for the body. One acts as a catalyst, and the second acts as a chemical messenger.

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