The pituitary gland is a small organ that is under the brain. Despite its small size, the function of the pituitary gland is very large. This gland is responsible for producing hormones that help control many processes and functions of organs in your body.
The pituitary gland is known as the ‘master gland’ because it produces hormones that regulate the functioning of other glands or hormone systems, such as the thyroid gland, ovaries, tes**ticles, and adrenal glands.
These glands play an important role in regulating the growth process, the arrival of puberty, metabolism, as well as the various functions of the organ system in your body.
Anatomical structure of pituitary gland
Based on structural and functional, the pituitary gland is divided into three parts, namely anterior, intermediate, and posterior, but because the intermediate part is very small and has little function, this time we will only explain these two parts of the pituitary gland, namely:
Adenohypophysis or anterior pituitary are composed of many glandular epithelial tissues. Together with the hypothalamus the anterior pituitary creates a neuroendocrine system consisting of a group of neurosecretory neurons, which cell body is between two groups in the hypothalamus namely the supraoptic nucleus and the paraventricular nucleus.
Structurally based, the adenohypophysis is an extension of the hypothalamus gland. The anterior pituitary produces many important hormones secreted in the blood when necessary, such hormones include:
- Growth Hormone (Somatotropin)
It is a hormone that has a function as a regulator of growth and metabolism of the body.
- Thyroid Stimulating Hormone/ Tirotropin (TSH)
It is a hormone that has a function as a regulator of thyroid hormone secretion and thyroid gland growth.
- Adrenocorticotropic Hormone (ACTH)
It is a hormone that has a function as a regulator of cortisol secretion by the adrenal cortex and the growth of the adrenal cortex
- Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH)
In men this hormone has a function as a spe**rm producer, while in women, this hormone has a function to stimulate the growth and development of ovum cells.
- Luteinizing Hormone (LH)
In men this hormone has a function as a stimulant of testosterone hormone production, while in women, this hormone has a function as a regulator of the production of estrogen and progesterone hormones and also plays an important role in the ovulation process.
It is a hormone that functions as a regulator of breast growth and development and also produces milk in women. Whereas in men this hormone is still not so real function, most likely related to the growth of male se**x organs.
Neurohypophysis or posterior pituitary are part of a group of glandular cells between broad capillary blood vessels. Neurohypophysis contains many nerve axons from the hypothalamus. There are two main parts of the neurohypophysis, namely:
- Pars Nervosa. This is the back of the neurohypophysis where oxytocin and vasopressin store.
- Pars Infundibularis (Infundibulum). Is the part where the hypothalamus gland and the pituitary gland are connected.
In this section of the neurohypophysis, or posterior pituitary there are two main hormones, namely oxytocin and vasopressin. Both hormones are made in the hypothalamus but secreted through neurohypophysis.
The function of the oxytocin hormone is much related to the preparation of reproductive organs for the process of pregnancy and facing the process of childbirth in women. An important target of the oxytocin hormone in women is the uterine muscle cells and brain cells in the mammary glands.
In men, the oxytocin hormone has a function to stimulate the growth of secondary se**xual organs. And also the oxytocin hormone can affect a person’s feelings, therefore the oxytocin hormone is commonly called also with the love hormone.
Vasopressin Hormone (Antidiuretic)
Vasopressin is a peptide hormone which function is to regulate the re-absorption of molecules through the kidneys by affecting the permeability of the walls of the renal tubules. Vasopressin will regulate the balance between sodium and water in the blood or urine so that it can regulate the volume of blood or urine in the body. And also, the vasopressin hormone function is able to affect blood pressure in humans.
This hormone can be found in all mammals. Vasopressin hormone or commonly called VP or ADH (Antidiuretic Hormone)
The Pituitary Gland Function
The pituitary gland is a gland that produces certain hormones that act as a control for various aspects of the human body. Hormones produced by the pituitary help regulate growth, blood pressure, energy production and combustion, and various other organ functions of the body.
This gland is often called the “master gland” because the hormone secreted by it regulates the functioning of the other glands as well. These hormones can be produced either from the front (anterior) or the back (posterior) of the gland.
However, it is important to understand that the pituitary gland works alone to carry out bodily functions. Hormones produced by the pituitary gland act as messengers to and from many different cells in the body.
Before the pituitary gland produces hormones, the brain sends signals from the hypothalamus as a communication center between the glands. After that, the glands will begin to produce, which then acts as a signal for other glands and organs of the body to regulate their function.
Learn more about Endocrine System Functions, and Hormones Classification