The pituitary hormones refer to the hormones released by the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland is one of the endocrine glands of the endocrine system. It acts as the master gland because it releases many hormones that regulated several physiological processes. The pituitary gland is located off the bottom of another endocrine gland, the hypothalamus. In humans, the pituitary gland is made up of three major areas: anterior pituitary (anterior lobe), pars intermedia (intermediate part), and posterior pituitary (posterior lobe).
The anterior pituitary is also known as the adenohypophysis. It consists of various hormone-secreting cells, such as somatotrophs, corticotrophs, thyrotrophs, gonadotrophs, and lactotrophs. The somatotrophs are the cells that release somatotropin (human growth hormone). The corticotrophs are the cells that release melanocyte-stimulating hormone, adrenocorticotropic hormone, and lipotropin. The thyrotrophs are the cells that release thyroid-stimulating hormone. The gonadotrophs are the cells that release luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone. The lactotrophs are the cells that release the hormone, prolactin.
The pars intermedia is the part of the pituitary gland that lies in between the anterior and the posterior pituitaries. The pars intermedia secretes melanocyte-stimulating hormone.
The posterior pituitary is also known as the neurohypophysis. It is not glandular. It means that the hormones released by the posterior pituitary is not produced in it but are stored and released from the axons (of the cells in the hypothalamus) that extend to the posterior pituitary. The hormones that are stored in and released from the posterior pituitary are oxytocin and vasopressin.