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Pituitary gland
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Pituitary gland

, the pituitary gland is protected by a bony structure called the sella turcica.]]

The pituitary gland, or hypophysis, is an endocrine gland about the size of a pea that sits in the small, bony cavity (sella turcica) at the base of the brain. It is connected to a part of the brain called the hypothalamus via the tuberoinfundibular pathway. It secretes hormones regulating a wide variety of bodily activities, including trophic hormones that stimulate other endocrine glands. For a while, this led scientists to call it the master gland, but now we know that it is in fact regulated by releasing hormones from the hypothalamus.

The pituitary gland is divided into two sections: the anterior lobe (adenohypophysis) and the posterior lobe (neurohypophysis). The posterior pituitary is, in effect, a projection of the hypothalamus. It does not produce its own hormones, but only stores and releases the hormones oxytocin and antidiuretic hormone (ADH).

The anterior pituitary secretes growth hormone, prolactin, follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, thyroid-stimulating hormone, adrenocorticotropic hormone, endorphins and other hormones.

There is also an intermediate lobe in many animals. In adult humans it is just a thin layer of cells between the anterior and posterior pituitary, nearly indistinguishable from the anterior lobe. The intermediate lobe produces melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH), although this function is often (imprecisely) attributed to the anterior pituitary.

The pituitary gland helps control the following body processes:

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Endocrine system - Pituitary gland Edit
Posterior pituitary - Pars nervosa - Median emminence - Infundibular stalk
Anterior pituitary - Pars intermedia - Pars tuberalis - Pars distalis - Somatotropes - Lactotropes - Thyrotropes - Gonadotropes - Corticotropes

Endocrine system
Adrenal gland; - Corpus luteum; - Hypothalamus - Ovaries - Pancreas - Parathyroid gland; - Pineal gland; - Pituitary gland; - Testes - Thyroid gland;