Human Body

Tissues, Organs, and Glands

What are the seven endocrine glands?

The major endocrine glands include the pituitary, thyroid, parathyroids, adrenals, pancreas, testes, and ovaries. These glands secrete hormones into the blood system, which generally stimulate some change in metabolic activity:

Pituitary—secretes ACTH to stimulate the adrenal cortex, which produces aldosterone to control sodium and potassium reabsorption by the kidneys; FSH to stimulate gonad function and prolactin to stimulate milk secretion of breasts; TSH to stimulate thyroid gland to produce thyroxin; LH to stimulate ovulation in females and testerone production in males; GH to stimulate general growth. Stores oxytocin for uterine contraction.

Thyroid—secretes triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) to stimulate metabolic rate, especially in growth and development, and secretes calcitonin to lower blood-calcium levels.

Parathyroids—secrete hormone PTH to increase blood-calcium levels, and stimulates calcium reabsorption in kidneys.

Adrenals—secrete epinephrine and norepinephrine to help the body cope with stress, and raise blood pressure, heart rate, metabolic rate, blood sugar levels, etc. Aldosterone secreted by the adrenal cortex maintains sodium-potassium balance in kidneys and cortisol helps the body adapt to stress, mobilizes fat, and raises blood sugar level.

Pancreas—secretes insulin to control blood sugar levels, stimulates glycogen production, fat storage, and protein synthesis. Glucagon secretion raises blood sugar level and mobilizes fat.

Ovaries and testes—secrete estrogens, progesterone, or testosterone to stimulate growth and reproductive processes.


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