Guide To Understanding The Pituitary Gland

The pituitary gland is a structure located at the base of the brain, which dictates and manages the functions of the majority of other endocrine glands throughout the body. The pituitary gland has been coined as the master gland because of its management abilities. The pituitary gland is protected and housed by the sella turcica or bony structure that does not leave much room for any expansion. The hypothalamus, the part of the brain that sits just above the pituitary gland, is what controls its function. The hypothalamus works similar to a meter or monitor to detect abnormalities the levels of the hormones the pituitary gland produces. The hypothalamus is physically connected to the pituitary gland by a strong bundle of nerve projections and blood vessels. The hypothalamus communicates with the pituitary gland by sending hormones into connecting blood vessels, and through nerve impulses that bridge the structures together.

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Structure And Anatomy

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The pituitary gland is shaped like an oval and measures approximately one centimeter in diameter. It typically weighs around half a gram and contains two major parts. The first part is a large region referred to as the anterior lobe, and the second, smaller part, is called the posterior lobe. The anterior lobe of the pituitary gland contains several types of cells that produce different hormones responsible for regulating other glands throughout the body. The posterior lobe of the pituitary gland contains cells that do not actually produce hormones, but store hormones after they have been produced in the hypothalamus until they are ready to be released. The pituitary gland is located in a lower chamber of the brain referred to as the sella turcica. The optic chiasm and optic nerves are located just above the pituitary gland, and the cavernous sinus is located on both sides of the pituitary gland. The blood vessels that carry blood to the brain or the carotid arteries run through the cavernous sinus, as well as the nerves that control facial sensation and eye movements.

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