Key Points

• The pituitary gland consists of an anterior lobe derived from the primitive gut and a neural lobe derived from the brain stem.

• The neural lobe receives its blood supply directly through the superior and inferior hypophysial arteries.

• The anterior lobe receives its blood supply through a system of capillary beds arranged in series such that it is supplied with blood that first perfused the median eminence of the hypothalamus.

• The anterior lobe synthesizes and secretes six protein hormones: thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), growth hormone (GH), and prolactin (PRL).

• Secretion of the anterior pituitary hormones is controlled by hypothalamic neurons that secrete neurohormones into the hypophysial portal circulation and by hormones of their target glands.

• Secretion of posterior pituitary hormones is controlled by neural signals arising either within the brain or at peripheral sites.

Essential Medical Physiology, Third Edition

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