Posterior Pituitary

The posterior pituitary secretes two peptides which are synthesized in the hypothalamus and then transported down axons within the pituitary stalk to be stored in vesicles ready for subsequent release into the bloodstream in response to appropriate stimuli (Figure EP.3).

Anterior Pituitary Hormones

The anterior pituitary secretes six peptide hormones, ACTH, TSH, FSH, LH, prolactin and growth hormone. See below for details.

Sscondory cmpil Icir-y

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Sscondory cmpil Icir-y

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Figure EP. 1 Portal system of the pituitary gland

Figure EP.2 Feedback control of the pituitary gland

Pituitary Posterior

Figure EP.3 Posterior pituitary innervation

Adrenocorticotropic Hormone (ACTH)

ACTH is principally responsible for regulating secretions of the adrenal cortex, especially cortisol. Secretion of ACTH is under the control of corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH) which is released from the hypothalamus, as well as a negative feedback mechanism dependent on the circulating concentration of cortisol. Exogenous administration of steroids can lead to suppression of the hypothalamic-pituitary axis. Potentially, the inability to increase cortisol levels during the peri-operative period might lead to extreme hypotension, and it is, therefore, common practice to administer supplementary exogenous corticosteroids if the pituitary axis is thought to be suppressed, for example after long-term oral steroid therapy.

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