The Endocrine System

Pituitary Gland
The pituitary gland is no larger than the size of a pea. It was once called the "master gland" of the body because its hormones control the function of other endocrine glands. The hypothalmus is really a master gland inbetween the brain and the pituitary gland. The hypothalmus controls the pituitary gland.

The pituitary gland's hormones affect growth, sexual development, metabolism and the system of reproduction. The gland consists of two lobes which release different hormones. The "anterior lobe" releases about six important hormones. These include:

  • growth hormone (GH) - stimulates the growth of muscles and bones
  • prolactin - stimulates production of milk in the breasts after giving birth
  • thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) - stimulates the thyroid gland to produce thyroxine
  • follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) - stimulates production of testosterone in males and helps in the development of male and female gametes
  • adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACHT) - stimulates the adrenal glands to produce steroid hormones
  • luteinizing hormone (LH) - stimulates the ovaries or testes
  • The "posterior lobe" produces these hormones:
  • antidiuretic hormone (ADH) - stimulates the increase of absorption of water into the blood by the kidneys
  • oxytocin - stimulates the contraction of the uterus during childbirth and stimulates milk production
    The Endocrine System Pituitary Gland Thyroid/Parathyroid Glands Thymus Adrenal Glands Pancreas Gonads (Ovaries) Gonads (Testes)