Anatomy of the Endocrine System (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
The hypothalamus is located in the lower central part of the brain. This part of the brain is important in regulation of satiety, metabolism, and body temperature. In addition, it secretes hormones that stimulate or suppress the release of hormones in the pituitary gland. Many of these hormones are releasing hormones, which are secreted into an artery (the hypophyseal portal system) that carries them directly to the pituitary gland. In the pituitary gland, these releasing hormones signal secretion of stimulating hormones. The hypothalamus also secretes a hormone called somatostatin, which causes the pituitary gland to stop the release of growth hormone.
The pituitary gland is located at the base of the brain beneath the hypothalamus and is no larger than a pea. It is often considered the most important part of the endocrine system because it produces hormones that control many functions of other endocrine glands. When the pituitary gland does not produce one or more of its hormones or not enough of them, it is called hypopituitarism.
The pituitary gland is divided into two parts: the anterior lobe and the posterior lobe. The anterior lobe produces the following hormones, which are regulated by the hypothalamus:
The posterior lobe produces the following hormones, which are not regulated by the hypothalamus:
The hormones secreted by the posterior pituitary are actually produced in the brain and carried to the pituitary gland through nerves. They are stored in the pituitary gland.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/1/2016
Stephen Kemp, MD, PhD
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