Endocrine System

Which gland of the endocrine and nervous system controls the other glands in the body?

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The hypothalamus is a part of the brain just inferior to the thalamus and superior to the pituitary gland.  The hypothalamus is responsible for much of the maintenance of homeostasis in the body.  

The hypothalamus controls the functions of both the anterior and the posterior pituitary glands.  The posterior...

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The hypothalamus is a part of the brain just inferior to the thalamus and superior to the pituitary gland.  The hypothalamus is responsible for much of the maintenance of homeostasis in the body.  

The hypothalamus controls the functions of both the anterior and the posterior pituitary glands.  The posterior pituitary gland does not produce its own hormones, but instead receives hormones produced by the hypothalamus and the release of these hormones from the posterior pituitary is controlled by neuron signals from the hypothalamus.  The two hormones controlled in this way are anti-diuretic hormone (ADH) and oxytocin.

The anterior pituitary gland, however, does produce its own hormones.  Similar to the posterior pituitary, the release of these hormones is controlled by the hypothalamus.  The hypothalamus secretes releasing and inhibiting hormones that travel through a portal system to the anterior pituitary and either promote or inhibit the release of hormones such as thyroid stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, follicle stimulating hormone, adrenocorticotropic hormone, growth hormone, and prolactin which then travel through the blood to their respective targets, causing addition release of hormones.

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The endocrine and nervous system are controlled by the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland is located in the brain behind the bridge of the nose and is about the size of a pea. It is attached to the brain by a thin blood vessel and nerve cells. It's sometimes called "the master gland" because it controls much of the endocrine and nervous systems.

The pituitary gland is responsible for controlling many other hormone glands in the body, such as the thyroid and adrenal glands. The hypothalamus sends hormones and signals to the pituitary gland, which then directs the other glands and tells them what hormones to release. In addition to controlling hormone glands, the pituitary gland is also linked to producing hormones for various organs, such as signaling for oxytocin hormone production in the uterus and mammary glands (for contractions and milk production); fluid-balancing hormones for the kidneys (to regulate waste); endorphins for the brain and immune system (for regulating and pain inhibition); and growth hormones for bones and muscles.

If the pituitary gland were damaged, or if a person had a disease of the pituitary gland, it could impact hormone regulation. For example, thyroid diseases like hypothyroidism occur when your thyroid gland does not produce enough T3 and T4 hormones. Side effects of hypothyroidism are weight gain, stunted growth, and hair and memory loss. People with pituitary problems can rectify the effects with medication to replace the impacted hormones.

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