Endocrine System

The Hypothalamus and Pituitary Gland: Introduction and Index

It would be difficult to overstate the influence of hypothalamic and pituitary hormones over physiologic processes. The target cells for most of the hormones produced in these tissues are themselves endocrine cells, and a seemingly small initial signal is thus amplified to cause widespread effects on many cells and tissues.

The close anatomical and functional relationships between hypothalamus and pituitary force an integrated discussion of these organs. The focus here is to introduce the major hormones produced by these organs, with significant emphasis on how hormone secretion and action are controlled. Links are provided to other sections of text containing additional information on the effects of these hormones.

Core information on physiology of the hypothalamus and pituitary is presented in the following topics:

Advanced and supplemental information on the endocrine hypothalamus and pituitary: