Role of the Pituitary Gland

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BASIC CONCEPTS

ENDOCRINE SYSTEM :-
In physiology, the endocrine system is a system of glands, each of which secretes a type of hormone into the bloodstream to regulate the body. It derives from the Greek words endo meaning inside, within, and crinis for secrete. The endocrine system is an information signal system like the nervous system. Hormones are substances (chemical mediators) released from endocrine tissue into the bloodstream that attach to target tissue and allow communication among cells. Hormones regulate many functions of an organism, including mood, growth and development, tissue function, and metabolism. The field of study that deals with disorders of endocrine glands is endocrinology, a branch of internal medicine. The endocrine system is made up of a series of glands that produce chemicals called hormones. A number of glands that signal each other in sequence is usually referred to as an axis, for example, the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. Typical endocrine glands are the pituitary, thyroid, and adrenal glands. Features of endocrine glands are, in general, their ductless nature, their vascularity, and usually the presence of intracellular vacuoles or granules storing their hormones. In contrast, exocrine glands, such as salivary glands, sweat glands, and glands within the gastrointestinal tract, tend to be much less vascular and have ducts or a hollow lumen. In addition to the specialized endocrine organs mentioned above, many other organs that are part of other body systems, such as the kidney, liver, heart and gonads, have secondary endocrine functions. For example the kidney secretes endocrine hormones such as erythropoietin and renin.

HORMONES :-
A Hormone is a chemical released by a cell or a gland in one part of the body that sends out messages that affect cells in other parts of the organism. Only a small amount of hormone is required to alter cell metabolism. In essence, it is a chemical messenger that transports a signal from one cell to another. All multicellular organisms produce hormones; plant hormones are also called phytohormones. Hormones in animals are often transported in the blood. Cells respond to a hormone when they express a specific receptor for that hormone. The hormone binds to the receptor protein, resulting in the activation of a signal transduction mechanism that ultimately leads to cell type-specific responses. Endocrine hormone molecules are secreted (released) directly into the bloodstream, whereas exocrine hormones (or ectohormones) are secreted directly into a duct, and, from the duct, they flow either into the bloodstream or from cell to cell by diffusion in a process known as paracrine signalling. Recently it has been found that a variety of exogenous modern chemical compounds have hormone-like effects on both humans and wildlife. Their interference with the synthesis, secretion, transport, binding, action, or elimination of natural hormones in the body are responsible of homeostasis, reproduction, development, and/or behavioural changes sameway as the endogenous produced hormones.

THEIR FUNCTIONS

Hormones have the following effects on the body:

Mood swings

Induction or suppression of apoptosis (programmed cell death)

Activation or inhibition of the immune system

Regulation of metabolism

Preparation of the body for mating, fighting, fleeing, and other activity

Preparation of the body for a new phase of life, such as puberty, parenting, and menopause

Stimulation or inhibition of growthControl of the reproductive cycle

WHAT IS THE PITUITARY GLAND ?

INTRODUCTION

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 covered by a dural fold . The pituitary is functionally connected to the hypothalamus by the median...
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