What hormones does the pituitary gland control or release?

1 Answer
Aug 5, 2016


A lot of different hormones.


The pituitary is often called the master gland because it produces of releases hormones that influence the activity of all other hormone glands in the body. The pituitary has two lobes: an anterior and a posterior lobe.

#color(red)"Anterior lobe of the pituitary"#
Also called the adenohypophysis produces the following hormones:

  • Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH): stimulates the adrenal gland
  • Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH): acts on ovaries and testes
  • Growth hormone (GH): also called somatotrophin; stimulates growth e.g. by increasing protein production
  • Luteinizing hormone (LH): works with FSH on ovaries and testes
  • Prolactin (PRL): works on breast glands to stimulate milk production
  • Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH): stimulates the thyroid gland

#color(red)"Posterior lobe of the pituitary"#
This part of the pituitary doesn't produce hormones itself. Nerve endings bring hormones from the hypothalamus (the master regulator) to this lobe. The posterior pituitary only stores and releases the following hormones:

  • Anti-diuretic hormone (ADH): acts on the kidney's to increase water resorption.
  • Oxytocin (Oxt): stimulates breast milk production and involved in childbirth and bonding between mother and child (therefore also called 'hug hormone').

#color(red)"Intermediate part of the pituitary"#
This is a physiologically separate part of the pituitary, but often considered part of the anterior lobe. It produces one hormone:

  • Melanocyte stimulating hormone (MSH): stimulates melanocytes in the skin to produce pigment.