I have just started reading about the endocrine system and I am having some difficulty understanding the basis of distribution of glands and associated hormones.
I am using multifuntionality to describe the amount of relatively independent input and output that are shared through a same organ or proximal space. Many of these organs have a heterogenous mixture of endocrine cells sharing the same glandular space.
There appear to be some glands that are considered "master glands" such that they take a variety of relatively independent input, apply some control logic via a diverse set of endocrine cells and tissue and secrete a diverse hormonal output. The pituitary and hypothalamus are the best examples, however the adrenal cortex and the pancreas also fit this definition to a certain extent. Many times the diversity of hormones and cells within an organ have no obvious connection (eg thyroid). Some glands appear more specialized with a relatively straightforward endocrine axis of input and output (eg testes).
Some of this multifunctionality seems unnecessary, in that insulin secretion could occur anywhere and be effective in the manner of an insulin pump, or contain risks due to excessive centralization as in a pituitary tumor or renal artery stenosis, so there must be some advantages I do not understand.
My textbook (Headley, Levine, 6th) seems to minimally cover multiplexing, signal cross-talk and competition between diverse endocrine cells sharing an organ. Its focus on discrete pathways and axes suggests these are evolutionarily unfavorable.
Are there synergistic advantages in shared endocrine infrastructure such as vascularity or metabolic pathways?
Is there some overlying logic that can be used to explain this distribution of glands and hormones regarding multifuntionality-specialization, or is it necessary to view the distribution of vertebrate endocrine system as the outcome of evolutionary contingencies?