noun, plural: anterior pituitaries
The pituitary gland is an endocrine gland situated off the bottom of the hypothalamus. It acts as the master gland of the endocrine system because it is responsible for the release of different hormones that regulate many physiological processes. It consists of three lobes: (1) anterior, (2) intermediate, and (3) posterior.
The anterior lobe of the pituitary gland is referred to as the anterior pituitary. It is fleshy and glandular. It releases hormones that regulate growth, reproduction, lactation, and stress.
The anterior pituitary is comprised of the distal and tubular parts. The distal part is called pars distalis, which forms the bulk of the anterior lobe. The tubular part of the anterior pituitary is referred to as pars tuberalis.
The hormone-secreting cells in the anterior pituitary are as follows:
- somatotrophs - cells that releases human growth hormone (somatotropin)
- corticotrophs - cells that release melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH), adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and lipotropin
- thyrotrophs – cells that release thyroid-stimulating hormone
- gonadotrophs – cells that release luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)
- lactotrophs – cells that release prolactin
Hormones that influence growth directly are referred to as trophic hormones whereas those that influence other cells to release hormones are called tropic hormones.
- pars anterior
- Anterior lobe of hypophysis