AAT Bioquest

What are the differences between paracrine signaling and autocrine signaling?

Posted September 27, 2023


Basis of differentiation 

Paracrine signaling

Autocrine signaling


Paracrine signaling is when a cell signals to its adjacent cells using chemical messengers 

Autocrine signaling refers to a cell signaling itself using chemical messengers

Target cells

Targets the adjacent cells

Target the cells of production; itself

Signaling molecules

Neurotransmitters and hormones are the signaling molecules

Cytokines and growth factors are the main types of signaling molecules involved


Signal transmission occurs through the synaptic gap during paracrine signaling; important for cell communication and development 

Is involved in cell differentiation during early embryo development to ensure cells grow into tissue and have correct function

Additional resources

Autocrine vs Paracrine vs Endocrine: What are the Differences?

Cell Signaling Pathways

Amplite® Colorimetric Sphingomyelinase Assay Kit *Blue Color*