Pituitary gland
The main endocrine gland. It is a small structure in the head. It is called the master gland because it produces hormones that control other glands and many body functions including growth. The pituitary consists of the anterior and posterior pituitary. The anterior pituitary is the front portion of the pituitary. Hormones secreted by it influence growth, sexual development, skin pigmentation, thyroid function, and adrenocortical function. These influences are exerted through the effects of pituitary hormones on other endocrine glands except for growth hormone which acts directly on cells. The effects of underfunction of the anterior pituitary include growth retardation (dwarfism) in childhood and a decrease in all other endocrine gland functions normally under the control of the anterior pituitary (except the parathyroid glands). The results of overfunction of the anterior pituitary include overgrowth (gigantism) in children and a condition called acromegaly in adults. The posterior pituitary is the back portion of the pituitary. It secretes the hormone oxytocin which increases uterine contractions and antidiuretic hormone (ADH) which increases reabsorption of water by the tubules of the kidney. Underproduction of ADH results in a disorder called diabetes insipidus characterized by inability to concentrate the urine and, consequently, excess urination leading potentially to dehydration. The urine is "insipid" (overly dilute).

* * *

pituitary gland n a small oval reddish gray very vascular endocrine organ that is attached to the infundibulum of the brain and occupies the sella turcica, that is present in all craniate vertebrates, that consists essentially of an epithelial anterior lobe derived from a diverticulum of the oral cavity and joined to a posterior lobe of nervous origin by a pars intermedia, and that has the several parts associated with various hormones which directly or indirectly affect most basic bodily functions and include substances exerting a controlling and regulating influence on other endocrine organs, controlling growth and development, or modifying the contraction of smooth muscle, renal function, and reproduction called also hypophysis, pituitary body see adenohypophysis, NEUROHYPOPHYSIS

* * *

the master endocrine gland: a pea-sized body attached beneath the hypothalamus in a bony cavity at the base of the skull. It has an anterior lobe (adenohypophysis), which secretes thyroid-stimulating hormone, ACTH (adrenocorticotrophic hormone), the gonadotrophin, growth hormone, prolactin, lipotrophin, and melanocyte-stimulating hormone. The secretion of all these hormones is regulated by specific releasing hormones, which are produced in the hypothalamus (see also corticotrophin-releasing hormone, gonadotrophin-releasing hormone, thyrotrophin-releasing hormone). The posterior lobe (neurohypophysis) secretes vasopressin and oxytocin, which are synthesized in the hypothalamus and transported to the pituitary, where they are stored before release.

* * *

hypophysis.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Pituitary gland — Pituitary Pi*tu i*ta*ry, a. [L. pituita phlegm, pituite: cf. F. pituitarie.] (Anat.) (a) Secreting mucus or phlegm; as, the pituitary membrane, or the mucous membrane which lines the nasal cavities. (b) Of or pertaining to the pituitary body; as …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • pituitary gland — (also pituitary body) ► NOUN ▪ a pea sized gland attached to the base of the brain, important in controlling growth and development. ORIGIN Latin pituitarius secreting phlegm …   English terms dictionary

  • pituitary gland — or pituitary body n. a small, oval endocrine gland attached by a stalk to the base of the brain and consisting of an anterior and a posterior lobe: it secretes hormones influencing body growth, metabolism, the activity of other endocrine glands,… …   English World dictionary

  • Pituitary gland — Infobox Anatomy Name = PAGENAME Latin = hypophysis, glandula pituitaria GraySubject = 275 GrayPage = 1275 Caption = Located at the base of the brain, the pituitary gland is protected by a bony structure called the sella turcica(also known as… …   Wikipedia

  • pituitary gland — Anat. a small, somewhat cherry shaped double structure attached by a stalk to the base of the brain and constituting the master endocrine gland affecting all hormonal functions in the body, consisting of an anterior region (anterior pituitary or… …   Universalium

  • pituitary gland — noun the master gland of the endocrine system; located at the base of the brain (Freq. 2) • Syn: ↑pituitary, ↑pituitary body, ↑hypophysis • Derivationally related forms: ↑hypophysial (for: ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • pituitary gland — UK [pɪˈtjuːɪt(ə)rɪ ˌɡlænd] / US [pɪˈtjuəterɪ ˌɡlænd] noun [countable] Word forms pituitary gland : singular pituitary gland plural pituitary glands medical the small organ at the base of your brain that produces the substances your body needs to… …   English dictionary

  • pituitary gland — [[t]pɪtju͟ːɪtri glæ̱nd, AM tu͟ːɪteri [/t]] pituitary glands N COUNT: usu sing The pituitary gland or the pituitary is a gland that is attached to the base of the brain. It produces hormones which affect growth, sexual development, and other… …   English dictionary

  • pituitary gland — pi|tu|i|tar|y gland [ pı tjuəteri ,glænd ] noun count the small organ at the base of your brain that produces the substances your body needs to control its growth and development. The pituitary gland is often simply called the pituitary …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • pituitary gland — pitu′itary gland n. anat. a small, somewhat cherry shaped double lobed structure attached to the base of the brain, constituting the master endocrine gland affecting all hormonal functions of the body Compare anterior pituitary posterior… …   From formal English to slang

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”