Pituitary Gland

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Pituitary Gland is often called the ‘Master gland’ and is located in Sella turcica, a bony structure at the base of the human brain. Often known as the hypophysis, this pea-sized gland is responsible for controlling the activities of other hormone-secreting glands. It secretes hormones which in turn controls a human body’s needs and sends a message to different glands and organs. 

What is the Function of the Pituitary Gland?

The prime function of the pituitary gland is secreting hormones into the blood. There are typically three pituitary glands – anterior lobe, intermediate lobe, and posterior lobe. However, intermediate pituitary is not present in adults. Therefore, the pituitary gland functions as a hormone-secreting gland for various reasons which are mentioned below. 

Anterior Lobe – It is formed from various kinds of cells and secretes different pituitary gland hormones which are essential for a human body. 

  • Growth hormone or HGH – It controls physical development, growth and repair of various tissues and is primarily responsible for the growth of bones and muscles. 

  • Adrenocorticotropic hormone – Abbreviated as ACTH, it influences adrenal glands to release cortisol or stress hormones. 

  • Thyroid stimulating hormone – Also known as thyrotropin, it stimulates the thyroid gland to release thyroxine which is essential for metabolism. 

  • Prolactin – It is one of the hormones secreted by the pituitary gland, which helps women produce breast milk, and the secretion is improved right after pregnancy. 

  • Beta melanocyte-stimulating hormone or MSH – This hormone activates the production of melanin as your skin or hair is exposed to UV radiation. 

  • Endorphins – These hormones are considered to give relief from pain and are considered to have a connection with the pleasure centres of the brain. 

  • Follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinising hormone – Both hormones released by the pituitary gland are used in controlling reproductive functions in a female and male body. 

Here, look at the pituitary gland diagram to see the position and structure of both the lobes. 

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Posterior Lobe 

This pituitary gland location is near hypothalamus. Hence they store the hormones secreted by it and then later release it into the body. The two hormones secreted by posterior lobe are as follows – 

  • Oxytocin – Pituitary gland function of these hormones is to control pregnancy and childbirth-related aspects such as the production of breast milk, contraction of the uterus during labour, etc.

  • Vasopressin or antidiuretic hormone – Pituitary gland function of this hormone is to maintain water balance in the body as it helps the kidneys reabsorb water to keep the body hydrated. 

Further, look at the structure of the pituitary gland from the picture presented below and study it in detail. 

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Pituitary Gland Disorders

Several disorders in the human body can affect the pituitary gland function, causing them to secrete hormones abnormally. Various such diseases which can affect your body are as mentioned below – 

  • Pituitary tumours – These are usually non-malignant. However, they interfere and contribute to abnormal secretion of hormones causing headaches and vision-related issues. 

  • Diabetes insipidus – This can cause the abnormal release of vasopressin, causing dehydration in one’s body. They may have to pass a huge amount of diluted urine and may need to consume more water or fluid. 

  • Acromegaly – A condition wherein your pituitary gland may produce a huge amount of growth hormones resulting in abnormal growth of various organs such as hand, feet, etc. 

Now that you have read about the structure and function of the pituitary gland, you will be able to answer questions related to it in your exam. To help you learn these biology concepts better, Vedantu takes the help of expert tutors who efficiently prepare study notes. You can download our Vedantu app or refer to the website for a better learning experience. 

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Why is the Pituitary Gland Called the Master Gland? 

Ans. As per the pituitary gland definition, it is known to be the master gland because of its responsibility for secreting most hormones needed to regulate various body functions. 

2. What are Some Hormones that Anterior Pituitary Gland Secretes? 

Ans. Anterior parts of the pituitary gland secrete various kinds of hormones such as growth hormone, prolactin, thyroid-stimulating hormone, beta melanocyte-stimulating hormone, and endorphins, etc. 

3. Where is a Pituitary Gland Situated? 

Ans. Pituitary gland is located inside a bony structure named sella turcica present at the base of the brain. It is under the brain and right behind the bridge of the nose and is divided into two parts – anterior lobe and posterior lobe.