endocrine gland

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Related to endocrine gland: pituitary gland

endocrine gland

Any of various glands producing hormonal secretions that pass directly into the bloodstream. The endocrine glands include the thyroid, parathyroids, anterior and posterior pituitary, pancreas, adrenals, pineal, and gonads. Also called ductless gland.

endocrine gland

a ductless gland that produces and secretes hormones into the blood or lymph nodes, affecting metabolism and other body processes. The endocrine glands include the pituitary, pineal, hypothalamus, thymus, thyroid, parathyroid, adrenal cortex, medulla, pancreatic islands of Langerhans, and gonads. Cells in other structures, such as the GI mucosa, the kidneys, the heart, and the placenta, also have endocrine functions. Compare exocrine gland.
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endocrine gland

One of two broad categories of glands; exocrine glands are the complementary category. Endocrine glands, e.g., the thyroid gland, are ductless glands that secrete macromolecules, called hormones, directly into the bloodstream, and such glands are richly supplied by blood capillaries. The endocrine glands include the adrenals, the parathyroids, the pineal, the pituitary, and the thyroid. Major clusters of endocrine tissue are also found in the gastrointestinal tract, the hypothalamus, the ovaries, the pancreas, the testes, and the placenta. In addition, chromaffin and other neuroendocrine cells are found individually and in small clusters throughout the body. See: illustration; table

The hormones produced by endocrine cells regulate the body's salt, water, mineral, and glucose levels; they adjust the body's metabolic balances, growth rates, and reproductive cycles; and they maintain the body's stress responses. Like exocrine and paracrine cells, endocrine cells are stimulated and inhibited by autonomic axons; the activities of endocrine cells are also modulated by circulating hormones, especially pituitary hormones. Both the neural and the hormonal signals to the endocrine system are ultimately regulated by the hypothalamus of the brain, which is the integration center for the body's visceral homeostasis. See: hormone

Endocrine health disorders usually result from the production of either too much or too little of a hormone.

NamePositionFunctionEndocrine Disorders
Adrenal cortexOuter portion of gland on top of each kidneyCortisol regulates carbohydrate and fat metabolism; aldosterone regulates salt and water balanceHypofunction: Addison disease
Hyperfunction: Adrenogenital syndrome; Cushing syndrome
Adrenal medullaInner portion of adrenal gland; surrounded by adrenal cortexEffects of epinephrine and norepinephrine mimic those of sympathetic nervous system; increases carbohydrate use for energyHypofunction: Almost unknown
Hyperfunction: Pheochromocytoma
Pancreas (endocrine portion)Abdominal cavity; head adjacent to duodenum; tail close to spleen and kidneySecretes insulin and glucagon, which regulate carbohydrate metabolismHypofunction: Diabetes mellitus
Hyperfunction: If a tumor produces excess insulin, hypoglycemia
ParathyroidFour or more small glands on back of thyroidParathyroid hormone regulates calcium and phosphorus metabolism; indirectly affects muscular irritabilityHypofunction: Hypocalcemia; tetany
Hyperfunction: Hypercalcemia; resorption of bone; kidney stones; nausea; vomiting; altered mental status
Pituitary, anteriorFront portion of small gland below hypothalamusInfluences growth, sexual development, skin pigmentation, thyroid function, adrenocortical function through effects on other endocrine glands (except for growth hormone, which acts directly on cells)Hypofunction: Dwarfism in child; decrease in all other endocrine gland functions except parathyroids
Hyperfunction: Acromegaly in adult; giantism in child
Pituitary, posteriorBack portion of small gland below hypothalamusOxytocin increases uterine contractionHypofunction: Diabetes insipidus
Antidiuretic hormone increases absorption of water by kidney tubuleHyperfunction: Unknown
Testes and ovariesTestes—in the scrotumTestosterone and estrogen regulate sexual maturation and development of secondary sex characteristics; some effects on growthHypofunction: Lack of sex development or regression in adult
Ovaries—in the pelvic cavityHyperfunction: Abnormal sex development
ThyroidTwo lobes in anterior portion of neckThyroxine and T3 increase metabolic rate; influence growth and maturation; calcitonin regulates calcium and phosphorus metabolismHypofunction: Cretinism in young; myxedema in adult; goiter
Hyperfunction: Goiter; thyrotoxicosis
See also: gland

endocrine gland


ductless gland

the glands of internal secretion, which shed their secretions (HORMONES) directly into the blood or lymphatic systems.

Endocrine gland

A ductless gland, such as the pituitary, thyroid, or adrenal gland, that secretes its products directly into the blood or lymph.
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Endocrine glands are different from other organs in the body because they release hormones into the bloodstream.
In biopsychology, balancing the endocrine glands through yoga is the key to balancing mental/emotional states.
The ectoderm first differentiates the brain and nervous system tissue, then forms the endoderm, which produces the internal mucous membranes and a number of endocrine glands (such as the thyroid and the thymus) and exocrine glands (such as the pancreas).
The thyroid is a gland, shaped like a butterfly, which is considered one of the largest endocrine glands in the body and rests in the middle of the lower neck.
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As a learned body for both science and medicine dealing with the endocrine glands and hormones it aims to advance education and research in endocrinology for the public benefit.
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This pea-size "master gland" secretes hormones that control most of the other endocrine glands.
Some of the endocrine glands include the pituitary, thyroid and adrenal glands, the female ovaries and male testes.