I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I missed a question regarding the signaling pathways of endocrine hormones when I was using UWorld to prepare for Step 1. At some point, I finally had the realization that this was something that I would just have to memorize.
Fortunately, I came across the following helpful mnemonics before my exam. Looking back, I think I had at least three questions on this topic. Ever since then, I have made it a point to utilize these with the students I tutor. And now, I hope they can help you as well. Enjoy!
Mnemonic: FLAT ChAMPS B.G.
Use: Hormones that utilize cAMP
Of all the mnemonics that I am about to mention, I like this one the most because it actually has cyclic AMP (cAMP) as part of its name, which definitely helps me remember it better.
F – FSH
L – LH (and Lipotropin)
A – ACTH
T – TSH
C – CRH and calcitonin
h – hCG and H2 (histamine)
A – ADH (v2 receptor), Alpha 2 adrenergic, Adenosine 2
M – MSH (melanocyte stimulating hormone), M2, M4
P – PTH, Prolactin Inhibiting Factor (Dopamine)
S - Somatostatin, Serotonin, Secretin
B - Beta adrenergics (B1, B2)
G - Glucagon, GHRH, GABA-B
Mnemonic: GOAT HAG
Use: Hormones that utilize IP3
I’ve never figured out how GOAT HAG has anything to do with IP3, but it works so I don’t question it.
G – GnRH, GHRH (yes: it does IP3 and cAMP)
O – oxytocin
A – ADH (v1 receptor)
T – TRH
H – H1
A – angiotensin II
G – gastrin
Mnemonic: VETTT CAP
Use: Hormones utilizing intracellular receptors
Again, the mnemonic doesn’t really fit the topic, but I have noticed that hormones with intracellular receptors are the most frequently tested of the endocrine hormones that we are discussing here. So, I would definitely make a big effort to memorize this one.
V – Vitamin D
E – Estrogen
T – Testosterone
T – T3
T – T4
C – Cortisol
A – Aldosterone
P – Progesterone
Use: Hormones with receptor-associated tyrosine kinases
What you’ll notice is that this mnemonic includes all of the hormones acting through the MAP and JAK/STAT pathway.
P – Prolactin
I – Immunomodulators (cytokines, IL-2, IFN)
G – Growth Hormone
G – Granulocyte colony stimulating factor
L - Lymphokines (IL6, IL2, IFN, TNF, GF), Leptin
E – EPO
T – Thrombopoietin
Mnemonic: all the “N”s
Use: c-GMP Mechanism
You can remember hormones that use the c-GMP mechanism as those that begin with the letter N.
- Nitric oxide (NO)
- Natriuretic peptides (BNP, ANP)
- Night sight (retinal rod photoreceptors in the dark)
Mnemonic: PET CAT V
Use: Hormone response elements on DNA
When you think of the lipophilic hormones that bind to DNA, think of a pet cat named V.
P - Progesterone
E - Estrogen
T - Testosterone
C - Cortisol
A - Aldosterone
T - Thyroid hormone
V - Vitamin D
Good luck on your test! Here are more mnemonics for your Step 1 studies: