Pituitary gland

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In vertebrate anatomy the pituitary gland, or hypophysis, is an endocrine gland about the size of a pea and weighing 0.5 g (0.02 oz.), in humans. It is a protrusion off the bottom of the hypothalamus at the base of the brain, and rests in a small, bony cavity (sella turcica) covered by a dural fold (diaphragma sellae). The pituitary is functionally connected to the hypothalamus by the median eminence via a small tube called the infundibular stem (Pituitary Stalk). The pituitary fossa, in which the pituitary gland sits, is situated in the sphenoid bone in the middle cranial fossa at the base of the brain. The pituitary gland secretes six hormones that regulate homeostasis.

There is an analogous structure in the octopus brain.[2]

Contents

Sections

The pituitary gland consists of two components: the anterior pituitary (or adenohypophysis) and the posterior pituitary (or neurohypophysis), and is functionally linked to the hypothalamus by the pituitary stalk (also named the "infundibular stem", or simply the "infundibulum")[1]. It is from the hypothalamus that hypothalamic tropic factors are released to descend down the pituitary stalk to the pituitary gland where they stimulate the release of pituitary hormones. While the pituitary gland is known as the 'master' endocrine gland, both of the lobes are under the control of the hypothalamus; the anterior pituitary receives its signals from the parvocellular neurons and the posterior pituitary receives its signals from magnocellular neurons [3]

Anterior pituitary (Adenohypophysis)

The anterior pituitary synthesizes and secretes the following important endocrine hormones:

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