Pituitary Gland

Pituitary Gland Pituitary Gland
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At the size of a pea, the pituitary rules as the king of all glands. The body is very sensitive to hormones. A drop of hormone in the blood produces massive effects. Failing to control the amount of hormone in the blood can result in deformity, disease and death. The hypothalamus of the brain and the pituitary gland of the endocrine system together are responsible for controlling what hormones are released, when and how much.


The pituitary gland lies in a bone cavity suspended from the hypothalamus under the brain and above the nasal cavity. It can be split into two halves, a posterior section that developed from nervous tissue, and an anterior section that developed from the digestive tract.

Hypothalamus Controls Pituitary

The Hypothalamus is not part of the endocrine system. It's part of the brain. However, if the pituitary is the king of all glands, the hypothalamus is the sorcerer that controls the king. The hypothalamus detects hormones in the blood and receives nerve impulses from the brain. Based on this input, the hypothalamus sends chemical messengers to the pituitary gland that stimulate the pituitary to produce, store or release certain hormones.

Posterior Pituitary

stores and releases 2 hormones, manufactured in the hypothalamus...

  • Vasopressin (ADH or antidiuretic hormone) helps maintain water balance by controlling the urine output.
  • Oxytocin stimulates the smooth muscle in the uterus and breasts to induce childbirth and to aid breast-feeding.

Anterior Pituitary

releases "tropic" hormones, which trigger the production and release of other hormones from other glands...

  • Thyrotropic hormone (TSH or Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) stimulates the thyroid gland to produce thyroxine.
  • Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) stimulates the cortex (outer layer) of both adrenal glands
  • Gonadotropic hormones stimulate the gonads, thereby inducing and controlling puberty. They include...
    Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH)
    stimulates the ovaries.
    Luteinizing hormone (LH)
    stimulates the testes.

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We don't have amazing facts specific to the adrenal glands. For facts on other glands check out our Amazing Facts page.

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