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The pituitary is a pea-sized, reddish-gray vascular mass at the base of the brain, approximately above the tonsils, at the level of the eyes. It consists of two lobes: the anterior lobe (adenohypophysis) and the posterior lobe (neurohypophysis).

The posterior pituitary is of neural origin and is controlled through direct electrical stimulation from the hypothalamus. It is not a true endocrine gland because it does not synthesize hormones. Instead, it stores oxytocin and antidiuretic hormones, hormones having been produced by specialized neural cells of the hypothalamus.

The anterior pituitary is of oral origin; it is an outgrowth of the pharynx. Regulation of hormones released by this endocrine gland is through chemical stimulation from the hypothalamus. These chemicals are called releasing factors because they stimulate other endocrine glands to secrete hormones. Hormones synthesized by the anterior pituitary are the growth hormone, thyroid stimulating hormone, adrenocorticotrophic hormone, follicle stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, prolactin, and melanocyte stimulating hormone.

Hadley, M.E. 1984. Endocrinology Prentice-Hall, Inc. New Jersey. 547 pp.

Lockhart, R.D., G.F. Hamilton, et.al. 1974. Anatomy of The Human Body. Faber and Faber Limited. London. 697 pp.

Van Amerongen, C. The Way Things Work; Book Of The Body. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1979.


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