endocrine gland

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
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.
The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2007, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Enlarge picture

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
Medical Dictionary, © 2009 Farlex and Partners

endocrine gland


ductless gland

the glands of internal secretion, which shed their secretions (HORMONES) directly into the blood or lymphatic systems.
Collins Dictionary of Biology, 3rd ed. © W. G. Hale, V. A. Saunders, J. P. Margham 2005

Endocrine gland

A ductless gland, such as the pituitary, thyroid, or adrenal gland, that secretes its products directly into the blood or lymph.
Mentioned in: Anxiety
Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Conejo-Garcia et al., "Expression of endocrine gland derived vascular endothelial growth factor in ovarian carcinoma," Clinical Cancer Research, vol.
For such a small gland, the pituitary secretes a veritable plethora of hormones, many of which are the prime instigators/initiators for the secretion of other hormones from endocrine glands located in other areas of the body.
Familial multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (FMEN1) is an inherited disorder that affects the endocrine glands. It is sometimes called familial multiple endocrine adenomatosis or Wermer's syndrome, after one of the first doctors to recognize it.
Such a treatment, however, leads to chronic iron overload affecting the endocrine glands (Abdulzahra et al., 2011).
(9) Thyroid gland is the first endocrine gland to develop during the 24th day of gestation.
Adrenal glands are a type of endocrine gland that are triangular in shape and located on top of the kidneys.
The pituitary gland is a pea-sized endocrine gland situated at the base of the brain.
As light diminishes throughout the day and dark sets in, the pineal gland - an endocrine gland in the brain - releases melatonin, which signals the brain to start its decent to rest and sleep.
DISCUSSION: Thyroid gland is the largest endocrine gland in the body and plays an important role in the maintenance of the basal metabolic rate and is a highly vascular endocrine gland.
According to the Health Authority Abu Dhabi (HD), some 54 per cent of thyroid and other endocrine gland disorder patients are Emirati and the disorder is among the top five causes of fatalities in the UAE.
The clocks operate on a 24-hour, circadian (Latin for "about a day") cycle that governs functions such as sleeping and waking, rest and activity, fluid balance, body temperature, cardiac output, oxygen consumption, metabolism and endocrine gland secretion.
The mind field becomes perturbed, which in turn stimulates or inhibits the secretion of the endocrine gland associated with that particular chakra causing an over- or under-secretion of hormone which then activates a certain physical/emotional response.