During adolescence, both male and female bodies go through numerous changes, and the most obvious ones are an increase in height, change in voice and body shape. Also, an increase in the activity of sebaceous and sweat glands and the development of sex organs and secondary sexual traits are prevalent during adolescence.

Notably, hormones play a significant role in the overall growth and development of a human body and the functioning of its organs. In this article, you will become familiar with one of the vital hormone-secreting organs called gonads, gonads’ meaning and their function. 

Read below to find more details!

What are Gonads?

Gonads are a part of the endocrine system, and gonads’ meaning can be explained as male and female reproductive organs. Ovaries are the female gonad while testes are the male gonad, and they are responsible for producing sex hormones. 

Such hormones are essential for the development and growth of both primary and secondary reproductive organs. Also, they are steroid hormones which pass through target cells’ membranes and aid expansion of genes inside cells.

It is noteworthy that gonadotropins stimulate gonads to generate sex hormones. Furthermore, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) are released by the pituitary. 

This figure below shows the male and female gonads’ location.

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Test Your Knowledge: Which of these produce testosterone hormone?

  1. Pineal gland b) Corpus luteum c) Testes d) Ovary. 

Function of Gonads

These Following Highlight Gonads Functions in Brief –

  • Secrete sex hormones.

  • Produce gametes.

  • Facilitates cell division, especially meiosis.

  • Indirectly responsible for controlling the maturation of reproductive organs.

  • Responsible for the development of secondary sex characteristics in male and female.

With that being said, let’s check out the female and male gonads below!

Male Gonad Hormones

Androgens, also known as the ‘male hormone’ is responsible for the maturation of the male reproductive system.  

The Primary Male Gonads Hormones are –

  1. Testosterone: These hormones are essential for the growth of bone, muscle and body hair and are produced by testes. It is also responsible for the growth of the penis, deepening voice and appearance of facial hair.

  2. Inhibin: Essentially, inhibin obstructs the release of follicle-stimulating hormone or FSH. It also regulates the development and regulation of sperm cells.

  3. Androstenedione: They are forerunners of oestrogen and testosterone and promote and regulate their production within the body. 

Female Gonad Hormones

Androgens are also present in females and are produced in their ovaries, fat cells and adrenal glands. They are responsible for stimulating hair growth in the underarms and pubic area in females. 

These are the Primary Female Gonads –

  1. Oestrogens: They aid in the development of the female reproductive system and facilitate reproduction. For instance, oestrogens promote the growth of a uterus, maturation of vagina, widening of breasts and pelvis. 

  2. Progesterone: They help to prepare a uterus for conception and are also responsible for regulating it during the menstrual cycle. Progesterone also plays a key role in milk production during pregnancy and even for stimulating gland. 

Notably, both over and underproduction of gonadal hormones is often responsible for several disorders in males and females. Typically, factors like long-term illness, inherited disease, poor lifestyle choices, etc. are responsible for hypo or hyperproduction of gonadal hormones. 

Test Your Knowledge: Which hormones affect secondary sex organs in males and females?

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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What is the Definition of Gonads?

Ans. As per gonads’ definition, they are organs which create gametes. In males, gonads are the testes while in females it is ovaries.

2. What Hormone is Secreted by the Testes?

Ans. The testes secrete a hormone called testosterone. It aids in the development of sexual organs in males along with the development of secondary sexual traits like deepening of the voice, appearance of facial hair, etc.

3. What are the Functions of Gonad?

Ans. The most significant gonads’ functions include – production of gametes and sex hormone. The steroid hormones released by gonads facilitate the growth and maturation of sexual organs in both males and females.