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The Pituitary Gland

Table of Contents
The Lungs
The Trachea
The Testes
The Submaxillary Gland
The Liver
The Stomach and Duodenum
The Blood
The Arteries and Veins
The Adipose Tissue
The Skin
The Pituitary Gland
The Pancreas
The Thyroid
The Kidney
The Spinal Cord
The Cerebellum
The Elastic Cartilage
The Bone
The Smooth Muscle
The Striated Muscle


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The pituitary gland is known as the master gland, because it is responsible for the secretion of hormones that ultimately effect all actions of the body. The pituitary gland is about the size of a grape and hangs under the hypothalamus at the base of the brain. It is divided into two parts, called lobes, the anterior lobe and the posterior lobe, which are both responsible for the production, storage and secretion of different hormones.


The posterior pituitary produces two hormones, oxytocin and antidiuretic hormone (ADH), which are made in the hypothalamus, and are stored and released in this lobe. Oxytocin controls milk production in the mammary glands and induces contractions in the uterus during labor, while ADH controls the reabsorbtion of water by the kidneys.


The anterior pituitary manufactures, stores, and secretes seven hormones.


Prolactin is also responsible for the stimulation of milk production in the mammary glands after birth.


Adrenocortico-tropic hormone (ACTH) is responsible for the stimulation of the adrenal glands above the kidneys, which results in the regulation of glucose production and sodium and potassium balance in the body.


 Melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH) is responsible for causing the synthesis if melanin pigment in the skin by stimulating melanocytes, while thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) is responsible for the thyroid’s release of thyroid hormones.


Follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone are responsible for stimulation of the sex organs (the testes and ovaries) in both males and females.


Finally, growth hormone (GH) controls the overall growth of all the body’s systems, especially the skeletal and muscular systems.


 The release of most of these hormones is controlled using negative feedback mechanisms, where the hypothalamus detects changes in the body through the peripheral nervous system, and sensing the change needs to be fixed, sends a message to the pituitary to release the hormone that fixes the problem.


Oxytocin and Prolactin are hormones that use a positive feedback system, in which these hormones are used to reinforce the change until the desired effect is produced (i.e. birth).


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