suprarenal gland

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an aggregation of cells specialized to secrete or excrete materials not related to their ordinary metabolic needs. Glands are divided into two main groups, endocrine and exocrine. adj., adj glan´dular.

The endocrine glands, or ductless glands, discharge their secretions (hormones) directly into the blood; they include the adrenal, pituitary, thyroid, and parathyroid glands, the islands of Langerhans in the pancreas, the gonads, the thymus, and the pineal body. The exocrine glands discharge through ducts opening on an external or internal surface of the body; they include the salivary, sebaceous, and sweat glands, the liver, the gastric glands, the pancreas, the intestinal, mammary, and lacrimal glands, and the prostate. The lymph nodes are sometimes called lymph glands but are not glands in the usual sense.
Classification of glands according to mode of secretion. From Applegate, 2000.
acinous gland one made up of one or more acini (oval or spherical sacs).
adrenal gland see adrenal gland.
apocrine gland one whose discharged secretion contains part of the secreting cells.
areolar g's Montgomery's glands.
axillary g's lymph nodes in the axilla.
Bartholin g's two small mucus-secreting glands, one on each side in the lower pole of the labium majus and connected to the surface by a duct lined with transitional cells, which opens just external to the hymenal ring. Their exact function is not clear but they are believed to secrete mucus to moisten the vestibule during sexual excitement. Called also major vestibular glands.
Bowman's g's olfactory glands.
bronchial g's seromucous glands in the mucosa and submucosa of the bronchial walls.
Brunner's g's glands in the submucosa of the duodenum that secrete intestinal juice; called also duodenal glands.
buccal g's seromucous glands on the inner surface of the cheeks; called also genal glands.
bulbocavernous g's (bulbourethral g's) two glands embedded in the substance of the sphincter of the male urethra, posterior to the membranous part of the urethra; their secretion lubricates the urethra; called also Cowper's glands.
cardiac g's mucus-secreting glands of the cardiac part (cardia) of the stomach.
celiac g's lymph nodes anterior to the abdominal aorta.
ceruminous g's cerumin-secreting glands in the skin of the external auditory canal.
cervical g's
1. the lymph nodes of the neck.
2. compound clefts in the wall of the uterine cervix.
ciliary g's sweat glands that have become arrested in their development, situated at the edges of the eyelids; called also Moll's glands.
circumanal g's specialized sweat and sebaceous glands around the anus; called also Gay's glands.
Cobelli's g's mucous glands in the esophageal mucosa just above the cardia.
coccygeal gland glomus coccygeum.
compound gland one made up of a number of smaller units whose excretory ducts combine to form ducts of progressively higher order.
Cowper's g's bulbourethral glands.
ductless g's endocrine glands.
duodenal g's Brunner's glands.
Ebner's g's serous glands at the back of the tongue near the taste buds.
eccrine gland one of the ordinary or simple sweat glands, which are of the merocrine type.
endocrine g's see endocrine glands.
exocrine g's glands that discharge their secretions through ducts opening on internal or external surfaces of the body; see gland.
fundic g's (fundus g's) numerous tubular glands in the mucosa of the fundus and body of the stomach that contain the cells that produce acid and pepsin.
gastric g's the secreting glands of the stomach, including the fundic, cardiac, and pyloric glands.
Gay's g's circumanal glands.
genal g's buccal glands.
glossopalatine g's mucous glands at the posterior end of the smaller sublingual glands.
haversian g's synovial villi.
holocrine gland one whose discharged secretion contains the entire secreting cells.
intestinal g's straight tubular glands in the mucous membrane of the intestines, in the small intestine opening between the bases of the villi, and containing argentaffin cells. Called also crypts or glands of Lieberkühn.
jugular gland a lymph node behind the clavicular insertion of the sternocleidomastoid muscle.
Krause's gland an accessory lacrimal gland deep in the conjunctival connective tissue, mainly near the upper fornix.
lacrimal g's the glands that secrete tears; see also lacrimal apparatus.
g's of Lieberkühn intestinal glands.
lingual g's the seromucous glands on the surface of the tongue.
lingual g's, anterior seromucous glands near the apex of the tongue.
Littre's g's
2. the male urethral glands.
lymph gland lymph node.
major vestibular g's Bartholin glands.
mammary gland a specialized gland of the skin of female mammals, which secretes milk for the nourishment of their young; it exists in a rudimentary state in the male. See also breast.
meibomian g's sebaceous follicles between the cartilage and conjunctiva of the eyelids. Called also tarsal glands.
merocrine gland one whose discharged secretion contains no part of the secreting cells.
mixed g's
1. seromucous glands.
2. glands that have both exocrine and endocrine portions.
Moll's g's ciliary glands.
Montgomery's g's sebaceous glands in the mammary areola; called also areolar glands.
mucous g's glands that secrete mucus.
olfactory g's small mucous glands in the olfactory mucosa; called also Bowman's glands.
parathyroid g's see parathyroid glands.
parotid g's see parotid glands.
peptic g's gastric glands that secrete pepsin.
pineal gland pineal body.
pituitary gland see pituitary gland.
preputial g's small sebaceous glands of the corona of the penis and the inner surface of the prepuce, which secrete smegma; called also Littre's glands and Tyson's glands.
prostate gland prostate.
pyloric g's the mucin-secreting glands of the pyloric part of the stomach.
salivary g's see salivary glands.
sebaceous gland a type of holocrine gland of the corium that secretes an oily material (sebum) into the hair follicles.
Glands: The relationship of the hair follicle, eccrine and apocrine sweat glands and sebaceous glands. From Copstead, 1995.
sentinel gland an enlarged lymph node, considered to be pathognomonic of some pathologic condition elsewhere.
seromucous g's glands that are both serous and mucous.
serous gland a gland that secretes a watery albuminous material, commonly but not always containing enzymes.
sex gland (sexual gland) gonad.
simple gland one with a nonbranching duct.
Skene's g's the largest of the female urethral glands, which open into the urethral orifice; they are regarded as homologous with the prostate. Called also paraurethral ducts.
solitary g's solitary follicles.
sublingual gland a salivary gland on either side under the tongue.
submandibular gland (submaxillary gland) a salivary gland on the inner side of each ramus of the mandible.
sudoriferous gland (sudoriparous gland) sweat gland.
suprarenal gland adrenal gland.
sweat gland see sweat gland.
target gland any gland affected by a secretion or other stimulus from another gland, such as those affected by the secretions of the pituitary gland.
tarsal g's meibomian glands.
thymus gland thymus.
thyroid gland see thyroid gland.
tubular gland any gland made up of or containing a tubule or tubules.
Tyson's g's preputial glands.
unicellular gland a single cell that functions as a gland, e.g., a goblet cell.
urethral g's mucous glands in the wall of the urethra; in the male, called also Littre's glands.
uterine g's simple tubular glands found throughout the thickness and extent of the endometrium; they become enlarged during the premenstrual period.
vesical g's mucous glands sometimes found in the wall of the urinary bladder, especially in the area of the trigone.
vulvovaginal g's Bartholin's glands.
Waldeyer's g's glands in the attached edge of the eyelid.
Weber's g's the tubular mucous glands of the tongue.

su·pra·re·nal gland

a flattened, roughly triangular body positioned in relation to the superior end of each kidney but attached primarily to the diaphragmatic crura; it is one of the endocrine (ductless) glands furnishing internal secretions (epinephrine and norepinephrine from the medulla and steroid hormones from the cortex).

suprarenal gland

suprarenal gland

su·pra·re·nal gland

(sū'pră-rē'năl gland) [TA]
A flattened, roughly triangular body resting on the upper end of each kidney; an endocrine gland the medulla of which producesepinephrine and norepinephrine and cortex produces cortisol and aldosterone.
Synonym(s): adrenal gland, epinephros, paranephros.


(gland) [L. glans, acorn]
1. An epithelial tissue that is specialized for the manufacture and export of particular molecules. Glands can be unicellular or multicellular. The multicellular glands are classified according to their architectures, e.g., multicellular glands are categorized as ducted or ductless. The cells of ductless glands secrete specific molecules into the adjacent interstitial space (paracrine glands) or into the blood stream (endocrine glands), while the cells of ducted glands (exocrine glands) secrete into a cylindrical sac (tubular glands) or into a flask-shaped sac (alveolar glands). The ducted glands are further divided into those in which there is only a single sac (simple tubular glands or simple alveolar glands) and those in which the sacs are connected by branching ducts (branched or compound glands). Glands can also be classified according to the secretory mechanisms of their cells. The most common secretory mechanism is merocrine, in which secretion-filled intracellular vesicles release their contents by fusing with the cell membrane. Other secretory mechanisms include holocrine (in which the gland cell membrane disintegrates to release its secretion), apocrine (in which the ends of the gland cells pinch off, carrying the secretion), and direct active transport of particular molecules across the gland cell membrane. Gland cells and their intertwined vascular beds can be controlled by autonomic innervation and by hormones from other glands.
2. An obsolete term for “lymph node.”

accessory gland

1. An additional (usually smaller) gland that secretes the same substances as a primary gland.
2. A gland secreting substances that enhance the function of another gland or organ; e.g., in the male reproductive tract, the prostate, which secretes fluids that improve the viability of sperm, is an accessory gland to the testis.

acinar gland

Alveolar gland.

acinotubular gland

A gland structurally midway between an alveolar and a tubular gland.

acinous gland

Alveolar gland.
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adrenal gland

Either of two triangular glands covering the superior surface of each kidney. Synonym: suprarenal gland See: illustration


Each adrenal gland is a two-part organ composed of an outer cortex and an inner medulla. The cortex arises in the embryo from a region of the mesoderm that also gives rise to the gonads. The medulla arises from ectoderm, which also gives rise to the sympathetic nervous system.


The entire gland is enclosed in a tough connective tissue capsule from which trabeculae extend into the cortex. The cortex consists of cells arranged into three zones: the outer zona glomerulosa, the middle zona fasciculata, and the inner zona reticularis. The cells are arranged in cords. The medulla consists of chromaffin cells arranged in groups or in anastomosing cords. The two adrenal glands are retroperitoneal, each embedded in perirenal fat above its respective kidney. In an adult, the average weight of an adrenal gland is 5 g (range: 4 to 14 g).


The adrenal medulla synthesizes and stores three catecholamines: dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine. The chief effects of dopamine are the dilation of systemic arteries, increased cardiac output, and increased flow of blood to the kidneys. The primary action of norepinephrine is constriction of the arterioles and venules, resulting in increased resistance to blood flow, elevated blood pressure, and slowing of the heart. Epinephrine constricts vessels in the skin and viscera, dilates vessels in skeletal muscle, increases heart rate, dilates the bronchi by relaxing bronchial smooth muscle, increases the conversion of glycogen to glucose in the liver to increase the blood glucose level, and diminishes activity of the gastrointestinal system. The three catecholamines are also produced in other parts of the body.

The adrenal medulla is controlled by the sympathetic nervous system and functions in conjunction with it. It is intimately related to adjustments of the body in response to stress and emotional changes. Anticipatory states tend to bring about the release of norepinephrine. More intense emotional reactions, esp. those in response to extreme stress, tend to increase the secretion of both norepinephrine and epinephrine; epinephrine is important in mobilizing the physiological changes that occur in the “fight or flight” response to emergency situations.

The cortex synthesizes three groups of steroid hormones from cholesterol. These are 1) glucocorticoids (cortisol, corticosterone), which regulate the metabolism of organic nutrients and have an anti-inflammatory effect; 2) mineralocorticoids (aldosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone), which affect metabolism of the electrolytes sodium and potassium; and 3) androgens and estrogens (estradiol), which contribute to body changes at puberty. See: aldosterone; cortisol; steroid


Hypersecretion of adrenal cortical hormones results in Cushing syndrome. Hypersecretion of aldosterone results in a surgically correctable form of hypertension (aldosteronism). Adrenocortical insufficiency may be acute or chronic; acute insufficiency of adrenal hormones produces circulatory shock, while chronic insufficiency results in Addison disease. See: Addison disease; aldosteronism; Cushing syndrome; pheochromocytoma

albuminous gland

Any of the glands secreting a fluid containing albumin. See: serous gland

alveolar gland

A multicellular gland in which the cells secrete specific molecules into an oval or flask-shaped sac.
Synonym: acinar gland; acinous gland

anal gland

Any of the glands in the region of the anus. Synonym: circumanal gland

apocrine gland

Any of the glands, e.g., the mammary glands, whose cells lose some of their cytoplasmic contents in the formation of secretion.

apocrine sweat gland

Any of the sweat glands in the axillae and pubic region that open into hair follicles rather than directly onto the surface of the skin as do eccrine sweat glands. They appear after puberty and are more developed in women than in men. The characteristic odor of perspiration is produced by the action of bacteria on the material secreted by the apocrine sweat glands.
See: sweat gland

areolar gland

Any of the sebaceous glands in the areola surrounding the nipple of the female breast.

Bartholin gland

See: Bartholin, Caspar (the younger)

Blandin glands

See: Blandin glands

Bowman glands

See: Bowman, Sir William

brachial gland

Any of the lymph nodes in the arm and forearm.

bronchial gland

Any of the mixed glands lying in the submucosa of the bronchi and bronchial tubes.

Bruch gland

See: Bruch, Karl

Brunner glands

See: Brunner glands

buccal gland

Any of the alveolar glands in the mucosa of the cheek.

bulbourethral gland

Cowper gland.

cardiac gland

A gastric gland in the cardiac region of the stomach.

carotid gland

A rare term for the carotid body.

celiac gland

Any of the lymph nodes anterior to the abdominal aorta.

ceruminous gland

Any of the glands in the external auditory canal that secrete cerumen.

cervical gland

Any of the lymph nodes in the neck.

ciliary gland

Any of two kinds of glands that secrete into the follicles of eyelashes: ciliary sweat glands and ciliary sebaceous glands.
See: gland of Moll; gland of Zeis

circumanal gland

Anal gland.

Cobelli gland

Any of the glands in the esophageal mucosa.

coccygeal gland

See: Luschka, Hubert von

compound gland

A multicellular gland containing branching ducts.

compound tubular gland

A gland composed of numerous tubules leading to a lone duct.

conglobate gland

An obsolete term for a lymph node.

Cowper gland

See: Cowper gland

cutaneous gland

Any of the glands of the skin, esp. the sebaceous and sudoriferous glands. These include modified forms such as the ciliary, ceruminous, anal, preputial, areolar, and meibomian glands.

ductless gland

A gland with cells that secrete specific molecules into the adjacent interstitial space (paracrine glands) or into the blood stream (endocrine glands).

duodenal gland

See: Brunner glands

Ebner glands

See: Ebner glands

eccrine gland

A simple tubular sweat gland of the skin.
See: apocrine gland; eccrine sweat gland

eccrine sweat gland

Any of the skin glands that regulate body heat by secreting sweat. The number of glands ranges from 2 million to 5 million. There are over 400 per square centimeter on the palms and about 80 per square centimeter on the thighs.
See: sweat gland for illus
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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

esophageal gland

Any of the small scattered mucous-secreting exocrine glands in the submucosa of the esophagus.

exocrine gland

One of two broad categories of glands; endocrine glands are the complementary category. Exocrine glands, e.g., the salivary glands, secrete specific molecules either onto the outer surface of the body or into a duct that empties onto surfaces that connect to the outer surface of the body. Most exocrine glands are multicellular: goblet cells are examples of unicellular exocrine glands.

Fraenkel gland

Any of the tiny glands located below the margin of the vocal cords.

fundic gland

A gastric gland in the fundus of the stomach.

gastric gland

Any of the mixed exocrine glands that form the epithelial pockets (pits) in the lining of the stomach; the glands are named for their location, e.g., cardiac glands, fundic glands, pyloric glands. Typically, the neck of the gland secretes mucus, the body of the gland secretes hydrochloric acid, and the base of the gland secretes enzymes and hormones. Synonym: peptic gland; stomach gland

genal gland

Buccal gland.

genital gland

The ovary or the testis.

haversian gland

Synovial gland.

hemal gland

Hemal node.

hepatic gland

Any of the lymph nodes located in front of the portal vein.

holocrine gland

A gland, such as a sebaceous gland of the skin, in which the secretory cells release intracellular macromolecules by disintegration of their cell membranes; these cells then die.

inguinal gland

A rarely used synonym for “inguinal lymph node.”

interscapular gland

Brown fat.

interstitial gland

Leydig cell.

intestinal gland

Lieberkühn crypt.

jugular gland

A firm or enlarged lymph node lying beneath the sternocleidomastoid muscle, often associated with malignancy.

glands of Krause

See: Krause, Karl

labial gland

Any of the alveolar glands of the mucosa of the lips.

lacrimal gland

The gland that secretes tears. It is a tubuloalveolar gland located in the orbit, superior and lateral to the eyeball, and consists of a large superior portion (pars orbitalis) and a smaller inferior portion (pars palpebralis).

lactiferous gland

Mammary gland.

laryngeal gland

Any of the mixed serous and mucus glands in the submucosa of the laryngeal section of the respiratory tract.

lenticular gland

Any of the small masses of lymphatic tissue in the lamina propria of the pyloric region of the stomach.

Lieberkühn gland

Lieberkühn crypt.

lingual gland

Any of the glands of the tongue, including the anterior lingual glands, Ebner glands, and mucous glands at the root of the tongue.

Littré gland

See: Littré gland

Luschka gland

See: Luschka, Hubert von

lymph gland

A rarely used term for “lymph node.”

major salivary gland

Any of the six large salivary glands; the two parotids, the two sublinguals, and the two submandibulars.

mammary gland

A compound alveolar gland that secretes milk. In women, these glands are made up of lobes and lobules bound together by areolar tissue. Each of the 15 to 20 main ducts, known as lactiferous ducts, discharges through a separate orifice on the surface of the nipple. The dilatations of the ducts form reservoirs for the milk during lactation. Synonym: lactiferous gland

meibomian gland

Long thin sebaceous glands aligned in parallel in a single row in the tarsal plates of the eyelids. They open along the inner free margin of the eyelid, and their lipid-rich secretion mixes with aqueous secretions of lacrimal glands to form the tear film that coats the surface of the eye. Synonym: tarsal gland
Synonym: tarsal gland

merocrine gland

A gland in which the cells remain intact during the elaboration and discharge of their secretion.
See: eccrine sweat gland

minor salivary gland

Any of the hundreds of 1 to 2 mm diameter mucous-secreting salivary glands distributed throughout the oral submucosa. These small glands are named by their locations, e.g., buccal salivary glands, lingual glands, although some glands are also known by the name of their original describers, and von Ebner glands, which are lingual salivary glands found in the circumvallate papillae of the tongue.

mixed gland

1. A gland that secretes in two different fashions, e.g., endocrine and exocrine, such as the pancreas.
2. A gland that contains two different secretory cell types, e.g., mucous and serous cells, such as in the salivary glands.

glandsof Moll

Small secretory and apocrine glands adjacent to follicles of eyelashes. Their secretions are thought to be antibacterial.
See: ciliary gland

Montgomery gland

See: Montgomery gland

Morgagni gland

See: Littré gland

muciparous gland

Any of the glands that secrete mucus.

nabothian gland

Any of the dilated mucous glands in the uterine cervix.

odoriferous gland

Any of the glands exuding odoriferous materials, as those around the prepuce or anus.

olfactory gland

Any of the glands in the olfactory mucous membranes.

oxyntic gland

Any of the gastric glands found in the fundus and body of the gastric mucosa.

palatine gland

Any of the mucous glands in the tissue of the palate.

palpebral gland

Tarsal gland.

parathyroid gland

Any of four small endocrine glands about 6 mm long by 3 to 4 mm broad on the back of and at the lower edge of the thyroid gland or embedded within it. These glands secrete parathormone.


An excess of parathormone results in hyperparathyroidism; a deficiency, in hypoparathyroidism, with neuromuscular hyperexcitability manifested by carpopedal spasm, wheezing, muscle cramps, urinary frequency, mood changes, and lassitude. Blood calcium falls and blood phosphorus rises. Other symptoms include blurring of vision caused by cataracts, poorly formed teeth if onset was in childhood, maldevelopment of hair and nails, and dry and scaly skin. Hyperparathyroidism or hypersecretion results in a rise in blood calcium and fall in blood phosphorus. Calcium is removed from bones, resulting in increased fragility. Muscular weakness, reduced muscular tone, and general neuromuscular hypoexcitability occur. Osteitis fibrosa cystica is associated with hyperplasia and resulting hypersecretion of the parathyroids.

paraurethral gland

See: Skene gland

parotid gland

The largest of the salivary glands, located below the ear and inside the ramus of the mandible. It is a compound tubuloalveolar serous gland. Its secreting tubules and acini are long and branched, and it is enclosed in a sheath, the parotid fascia. Saliva lubricates food and makes it easier to taste, chew, and swallow. See: mumps

peptic gland

Gastric gland.

Peyer glands

An obsolete term for Peyer patch.

pineal gland

An endocrine gland in the brain, shaped like a pine cone and located in a pocket near the splenium of the corpus callosum. It is the site of melatonin synthesis, which is inhibited by light striking the retina. Synonym: pineal body; See: melatonin
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PITUITARY GLAND: Hormones secreted by the anterior and posterior pituitary gland, along with target organs

pituitary gland

A small, gray, rounded gland that develops from ingrown oral epithelium (Rathke pouch) and is attached to the lower surface of the hypothalamus by the infundibular stalk. The Rathke pouch portion forms the anterior lobe and an intermediate area; the neural tissue of the infundibular stalk forms the posterior lobe. The pituitary gland averages 1.3 × 1.0 ×0.5 cm in size and weighs 0.55 to 0.6 g. Synonym: hypophysis; hypophysis cerebri See: illustration


The pituitary is an endocrine gland secreting a number of hormones that regulate many bodily processes including growth, reproduction, and other metabolic activities. It is often referred to as the “master gland of the body.”

Hormones are secreted in the following lobes: Intermediate lobe: In cold-blooded animals, intermedin is secreted, influencing the activity of pigment cells (chromatophores) of fishes, amphibians, and reptiles. In warm-blooded animals, no effects are known.

Anterior lobe: Secretions here are the somatotropic, or growth hormone (STH or GH), which regulates cell division and protein synthesis for growth; adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), which regulates functional activity of the adrenal cortex; thyrotropic hormone (TTH or TSH), which regulates functional activity of the thyroid gland; and prolactin, also called lactogenic hormone, which induces secretion of milk in the adult female. The gonadotropic hormones are as follows: in women, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) stimulates development of ovarian follicles and their secretion of estrogen; in men, it stimulates spermatogenesis in the testes. In women, luteinizing hormone (LH) stimulates ovulation and formation of the corpus luteum and its secretion of estrogen and progesterone. In men, LH also called interstitial cell-stimulation hormone (ICSH), stimulates testosterone secretion.

Posterior lobe: Hormones are secreted by the neurosecretory cells of the hypothalamus and pass through fibers of the supraopticohypophyseal tracts in the infundibular stalk to the neurohypophysis, where they are stored. Secretions here are oxytocin, which acts specifically on smooth muscle of the uterus, increasing tone and contractility, and antidiuretic hormone (ADH), which increases reabsorption of water by the kidney tubules. In large amounts, ADH also causes vasoconstriction, and is also called vasopressin.


Hypersecretion of anterior lobe causes gigantism, acromegaly, and pituitary basophilism (Cushing disease). Hyposecretion of anterior lobe causes dwarfism, pituitary cachexia (Simmonds disease), Sheehan syndrome, acromicria, eunuchoidism, or hypogonadism. Posterior lobe deficiency or hypothalamic lesion causes diabetes insipidus. Anterior and posterior lobe deficiency and hypothalamic lesion cause Fröhlich syndrome (adiposogenital dystrophy) and pituitary obesity.

preputial gland

A modified sebaceous gland located on the neck of the penis and the inner surface of the prepuce; its secretion is a component of smegma.
Synonym: Tyson gland

prostate gland

The gland in the male that surrounds the neck of the bladder and the urethra. It is partly glandular, with ducts opening into the prostatic portion of the urethra, and partly muscular. It secretes a thin, opalescent, slightly alkaline fluid that forms part of the semen. The prostate consists of a median lobe and two lateral lobes measuring about 2 × 4 × 3 cm and weighing about 20 g; it is enclosed in a fibrous capsule containing smooth muscle fiber in its inner layer. The nerve supply is from the inferior hypogastric plexus.

pyloric gland

A gastric gland in the pyloric region of the stomach.

racemose gland

Acinar gland.

Rivinus gland

See: Rivinus, August Quirinus
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salivary gland

Any of the glands near the oral cavity that secrete saliva. The major glands are paired and include the parotid, the sublingual, and the submandibular. There are numerous minor salivary glands in the oral cavity, named according to their locations: lingual, sublingual, palatal, buccal, labial, and glossopharyngeal. See: illustration

Salivary secretion is under nervous control, reflexly initiated by mechanical, chemical, or radiant stimuli acting on taste buds in the mouth, olfactory receptors, or the eyes. Secretion may also be due to conditioned reflexes as when one thinks about food or hears a dinner bell. The nerve supply of the salivary glands is from the facial and glossopharyngeal nerves, which increase secretion, and from the sympathetic nerves, which decrease secretion. The blood supply is from branches of the external carotid artery.

sebaceous gland

An oil-secreting gland of the skin. The glands are simple or branched alveolar glands, most of which open into hair follicles. They are holocrine glands whose secretion arises from the disintegration of cells filling the alveoli. Some aberrant glands are found in the cheeks or lips of the oral cavity, well separated from hair follicles.
See: Fordyce disease

sentinel gland

A term formerly used to indicate a sentinel lymph node, i.e., a lymph node that first alerts a clinician to serious pathology (such as a spreading cancer).

seromucous gland

A mixed serous and mucus gland.

serous gland

An exocrine gland with a relatively watery secretion, isotonic with blood plasma, and containing enzymes, glycoproteins, lysozymes, and bactericides. Serous glands are most common in the gastrointestinal tract, notably in the salivary glands.

sex gland

An ovary or testis.

simple gland

A gland shaped like a single unbranched sac. When the sac is cylindrical, the gland is called simple tubular; when the sac is flask-shaped, the gland is called simple alveolar.

Skene gland

See: Skene, Alexander

stomach gland

Gastric gland.

sublingual gland

The smallest of the major salivary glands, located in the tissue in the floor of the mouth between the tongue and mandible on each side. It is a mixed seromucous gland. Its main duct opens into or near the submandibular duct, but several smaller ducts may open to the oral cavity independently along the sublingual fold. Numerous minor sublingual glands are scattered throughout the mucosa under the tongue, each with its own duct to the oral surface.

submandibular gland

A mixed tubuloalveolar salivary gland about the size of a walnut that lies below the posterior floor of the mouth, medial to the body of the mandible. Its main duct (Wharton duct) opens at the side of the frenulum linguae.

sudoriferous gland

Any of the glands in the skin that secrete perspiration.
See: sweat glands for illus

suprarenal gland

Adrenal gland.
Enlarge picture

sweat gland

Any of the simple, coiled, tubular glands found on all body surfaces except the margin of the lips, glans penis, and inner surface of the prepuce. The coiled secreting portion lies in the corium or subcutaneous portion of skin; the secretory duct follows a straight or oblique course through the dermis but becomes spiral in passing through the epidermis to its opening, a sweat pore. Most sweat glands are merocrine; those of the axilla, areola, mammary gland, labia majora, and circumanal region are apocrine. Sweat glands are most numerous on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet.
See: illustration; apocrine gland; eccrine gland

synovial gland

Any of the glands that project from the surface of the synovial tissue into the joint space and secrete synovial fluid.

target gland

Any gland affected by the action or secretion of another gland, e.g., the thyroid is a target gland of the pituitary.

tarsal gland

Meibomian gland.

thymus gland

See: thymus
Enlarge picture

thyroid gland

A large endocrine gland located in the center of the base of the neck. The gland is composed of two lobes, one on each side of the trachea, and an isthmus of tissue connecting the lower two thirds of each lobe. The isthmus is usually located at the level of the second to third tracheal rings. The whole gland is surrounded by a thin fibrous capsule attached in back to the cricoid cartilage and the first few tracheal rings. The lobes of the thyroid lie under the sternothyroid and sternohyoid muscles. The thyroid is filled with capillary networks (supplied by the superior and inferior thyroid arteries) that surround the many spherical units (follicles) packed inside the gland. Thyroid follicles consist of a ring of follicular cells surrounding a space filled with a clear colloid (a mixture of thyroglobulin proteins and iodine), from which the thyroid hormones (thyroxine and related molecules) are synthesized. These hormones regulate the rate of cellular metabolism throughout the body. All the steps in synthesizing and releasing thyroid hormones are stimulated by thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) secreted by the pituitary gland. Another class of thyroid cells, the parafollicular or C cells, is found outside the follicles; C cells secrete calcitonin, a calcium-lowering hormone.
See: illustration

tracheal gland

Any of the acinar glands of the tracheal mucosa.

tubular gland

A multicellular gland in which the cells secrete specific molecules into a cylindrical sac.

Tyson gland

Preputial gland.

unicellular gland

A lone secretory epithelial cell, often found in the midst of nonsecretory cells. A common example is the goblet (chalice, calceiform) cell, a unicellular mucous-secreting gland found in the columnar epithelium of the intestinal tract.

urethral gland

Littré gland.

uterine gland

Any of the tubular glands in the endometrium.

vaginal gland

Any of the alveolar glands found in the uppermost portion of the vaginal mucosa near the cervix, most of the vaginal mucosa being devoid of glands.

vestibular gland

Any of the glands of the vaginal vestibule. They include the minor vestibular glands and the major vestibular glands (Bartholin glands).

von Ebner gland

Any of the lingual salivary glands in the circumvallate papillae.

vulvovaginal gland

See: Bartholin gland Bartholin, Caspar (the younger)

Waldeyer gland

See: Waldeyer-Hartz

Weber gland

See: Weber, Moritz I.

glands of Zeis

Small sebaceous glands surrounding the follicles of eyelashes. Their lipid-rich secretions coat the shafts of lashes.

su·pra·re·nal gland

(sū'pră-rē'năl gland) [TA]
A flattened, roughly triangular body positioned in relation to the superior end of each kidney but attached primarily to the diaphragmatic crura.
Synonym(s): adrenal body, adrenal gland.


an aggregation of cells specialized to secrete or excrete materials not related to their ordinary metabolic needs. Glands are divided into two main groups, endocrine and exocrine.
Specific glands will be found under their individual names.

accessory genital g's
glands other than the gonads, intimately associated with the reproductive organs, especially of the male, in which they include vesicular glands (seminal vesicles), ampullary glands, prostate, bulbourethral glands, coagulating glands. Called also accessory sex glands.
accessory sex gland
see accessory genital glands (above).
acinous gland
one made up of one or more oval or spherical sacs (acini).
alveolar gland
one whose secretory units consist of saclike dilatations with a distinct lumen.
alveolar-tubular gland
gland composed of a mixture of alveolar and tubular structures.
ampullary gland
fusiform enlargement of the deferent duct, as it passes across the bladder wall, due to proliferation of glandular tissue in the regionally folded mucosa.
anal g's
small glands in the anal columnar mucosal cells plus larger and more numerous circumanal glands in the surrounding skin.
apocrine gland
one whose discharged secretion contains part of the secreting cells.
avian stomach g's
mucosal and submucosal glands in the stomach of birds; the submucosal glands are thought to secrete both acidic and enzymic substances.
bronchial g's
glands which contain a mixture of serous and mucus-secreting cells found in the bronchial mucosa.
buccal g's
buccal salivary glands lying in the submucosal tissues of the cheek and sometimes the orbit and whose ducts secrete directly into the buccal cavity.
cardiac gland
one of the three (the other two are the pyloric and proper gastric or fundic) types of gland in the stomach wall and capable of secretion into the gastric juices; this gland secretes only mucus.
carpal g's
cutaneous, 'marking' glands found on the medial aspect of the carpus in the pig; although present in both sexes are thought to be used to mark mated females.
circumoral g's
large glands in the lips of cats; used to mark territory either directly by the familiar fawning head rub, or indirectly by rubbing the secretion of the gland onto the fur during grooming.
ceruminous g's
cerumin-secreting glands in the skin of the external auditory canal.
compound gland
one made up of a number of smaller units whose excretory ducts combine to form ducts of progressively higher order.
deep (lacrimal) gland, gland of the third eyelid
an additional lacrimal gland found in the skin of the cartilaginous support of the third eyelid.
ductless g's
endocrine glands.
eccrine gland
a gland that secretes its product without loss of cytoplasm, such as the sweat glands on dog footpads or human skin.
endocrine g's
or ductless glands, discharge their secretions (hormones) directly into the blood; they include the adrenal, pituitary, thyroid and parathyroid glands, the islets of Langerhans in the pancreas, the gonads and the pineal body.
exocrine g's
discharge through ducts opening on an external or internal surface of the body; include the salivary, sebaceous and sweat glands, the liver, the gastric glands, the pancreas, the intestinal, mammary and lacrimal glands, and the prostate.
fundic g's, fundus g's
numerous, tubular glands in the mucosa of the stomach that contain the cells which produce acid and pepsin. According to the species, they are usually found in the body and occasionally in the fundus.
gustatory gland
branched, tubuloalveolar serous glands which open into large lingual papillae.
hematopoietic gland
glandlike body, e.g. the spleen, that takes a part in blood formation.
hemolymph gland
small node resembling lymph node but red or brown in color and containing blood sinuses instead of or alongside lymph spaces. Common in ruminants and some rodents and typically located along the large arteries.
Harderian gland
haversian gland
fold on synovial surface regarded as secretor of synovia.
holocrine gland
one whose discharged secretion contains the entire secreting cells as in sebaceous glands.
horn gland
a scent gland found caudomedial to the horn base in goats of both sexes; increase in size and activity in breeding season. Produce the pungent secretion so characteristic of goats, described best as the distilled essence of reek.
infraorbital g's
special sebaceous glands which line the infraorbital sinus (pouch) in sheep.
inguinal g's
the collection of special tubular and sebaceous glands which line the inguinal pouch (sinus) in sheep.
interdigital g's
special sebaceous and tubular glands in the interdigital sinus (pouch) in sheep.
intestinal g's
microscopic tubular glands which lie in the mucosa of the gut and secrete intestinal juice into the lumen of the small intestine.
labial g's
minor salivary glands; mucous in small ruminants, serous in others.
lateral nasal g's
a local glandular thickening of the mucosa lining the maxillary sinus of dogs and some other species; this tissue is largely responsible for the continually wet nose of the dog.
lingual gland
minor salivary glands, mixed serous and mucous in cattle and horses, mucous in sheep, cats, dogs.
lymph g's
lymph nodes; they are not glands in the true sense.
male sex gland
see testis, accessory genital glands (above).
mammary gland
the milk-secreting organ of female mammals, existing also in a rudimentary state in the male. See also udder, breast.
mandibular salivary g's
major salivary glands; large and with long salivary ducts to deliver secretion into the mouth.
marrow-lymph gland
hemolymph gland having a marrow-like tissue.
meibomian gland
see tarsal gland.
mental gland
a focal specialization of glands in the skin of the pig, caudal to the mandibular symphysis. It is a round raised nevus-like structure composed of sebaceous and apocrine glands with coarse bristles.
merocrine gland
one whose discharged secretion contains no part of the secreting cells.
mixed g's
1. seromucous glands.
2. glands that have both exocrine and endocrine portions.
molar salivary gland
unique gland in felids; predominantly mucoid cells with a few serous.
Moll's g's, g's of Moll
multicellular g's
glands which occur as sheets of epithelial cells with secretory function, e.g. gastric and intestinal mucosae.
multilobular proventricular g's
in the glandular stomach of the bird these glands appear to secrete both pepsin and hydrochloric acid.
nasal g's
small glands scattered throughout the nasal mucosa.
nasolabial gland
see nasolabial gland.
olfactory g's
seromucous glands located beneath the olfactory epithelium; their secretion keeps the local mucosa moist.
palatine salivary gland
a minor salivary gland containing serous or mucoid or mixed secretory cells.
palpebral gland
see meibomian gland (above).
parotid salivary gland
a major salivary gland usually containing serous secretory cells; in carnivores there may also be a few mucus-secreting cells.
preen gland
see uropygial gland (below).
preputial g's
sebaceous and apocrine sweat glands within the prepuce; sometimes aggregated into discrete sacs (musk deer) or diverticula (pigs); their secretions combine with desquamated epithelial cells to produce smegma.
proctodaeal g's
mucous glands containing lymphoid tissue located in the proctodeum of male and female birds.
proper gastric gland
the main digestive glands of the stomach; found in different parts of the stomach in different species but usually in the body of the stomach; secrete pepsin and hydrochloric acid; open into microscopic pits and clefts.
scent gland
secrete pheromones which play such a large part in olfactory communication between animals. Located in a variety of places, e.g. in the elephant they are behind the eyes, in the musk deer they are in the belly wall.
seminal gland
see seminal vesicle.
sentinel gland
an enlarged lymph node, considered to be pathognomonic of some pathological condition elsewhere.
sex g's, sexual g's
gonads. See ovary, testis.
shell gland
the caudal portion of the uterus in the female bird in which the egg is held while the shell is secreted.
simple gland
one with a nonbranching duct.
sine ductibus gland
ductless gland.
solitary g's
solitary follicles.
sperm host gland
in the vagina of birds; store and nourish visiting spermatozoa which are released when oviposition occurs.
splenolymph g's
hemolymph glands having more of the splenic type of tissue.
sublingual salivary gland
a major salivary gland; predominantly mucous cells in ruminants, swine, rodents; mixed serous and mucoid cells in small carnivores and horses.
submental g's
a group of sebaceous glands in the intermandibular space in cats.
submucosal intestinal g's
simple, branched, tubuloacinar glands; mucous in ruminants and dogs, mixed serous and mucous in cats and serous in horses and dogs; in carnivores and small ruminants confined to the proximal or middle parts of the duodenum, extend to jejunum in large ruminants, horses, pigs.
submucosal stomach gland
large, numerous, branched, compound, tubular gland in birds; thought to secrete both acid and enzymatic products.
sudoriferous g's, sudoriparous g's
sweat glands.
supracaudal gland
scent producing cells found only in dogs and cats; in dogs confined to a small area at the base of the tail, in cats extend along the dorsal surface of most of the tail; called also tail gland.
suprarenal gland
tail gland
see supracaudal gland (above).
target gland
one specifically affected by a hormone.
tarsal gland
see meibomian gland (above).
third eyelid gland
a secondary lacrimal gland; a second, deeper gland occurs in pigs and cattle.
tubular gland
any gland made up of or containing a tubule or tubules.
ultimobranchial gland
tissue from the fourth pharyngeal pouch which in mammals is absorbed into the thyroid gland. In fish, amphibians, reptiles and birds the tissue forms separate glands containing calcitonin.
unicellular gland
a single cell that functions as a gland, e.g. a goblet cell.
urethral g's
accessory sex glands in males; secrete serous and mucoid liquids into the urethra to nourish and activate spermatozoa.
uropygial gland
the oil or preen gland of birds is attached to the tail and consists of a bilobed simple tubular, holocrine gland.
vesicular gland
see seminal vesicle.
vestibular g's
major and minor mucus-producing glands in the vestibule of the vulva.
Wolfring g's
small tubuloalveolar glands in subconjunctival tissue above the upper border of the tarsal plate; open onto conjunctiva.
g's of Zeis, Zeis g's
prominent sebaceous sweat glands on the eyelid margins, associated with hair follicles of cilia. See also external hordeolum.
Zuckerkandl gland
two large bodies included with the paraganglia along the abdominal aorta.
zygomatic salivary gland
a unique salivary gland in small carnivores; contains mainly mucous cells with a few serous cells; a modified dorsal buccal gland.


above a kidney; adrenal.

suprarenal gland
adrenal gland.