pituitary

   An endocrine gland somewhat behind the eyes and suspended from the front of the brain. The front section, the anterior pituitary, makes and secretes a number of controlling hormones that affect the rate of oxidation; the preference for fats, sugars, or proteins for fuel; the rate of growth and repair in the bones, connective tissue, muscles, and skin; the ebb and flow of steroid hormones from both the gonads and adrenal cortices. It does this through both negative and positive feedback. The hypothalamus controls these functions, secreting its own hormones into a little portal system that feeds into the pituitary, telling the latter what and how much to do. The hypothalamus itself synthesizes the nerve hormones that are stored in the posterior pituitary, which is responsible for squirting them into the blood when the brain directs it to. These neurohormones act quickly, like adrenalin, to constrict blood vessels, limit diuresis in the kidneys, and trigger the complex responses of sexual excitation, milk let-down in nursing, and muscle stimulus in the uterus (birthing, orgasm, and menstrual contractions), prostate, and nipples.

Herbal-medical glossary. 2015.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Pituitary — Pi*tu i*ta*ry, a. [L. pituita phlegm, pituite: cf. F. pituitarie.] (Anat.) (a) Secreting mucus or phlegm; as, the pituitary membrane, or the mucous membrane which lines the nasal cavities. (b) Of or pertaining to the pituitary body; as, the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • pituitary — [pi to͞o′ə ter΄ē, pityo͞o′ə ter΄ē] adj. [L pituitarius < pituita, phlegm, rheum < IE * pitu , juice, food < base * pei , *pi , to be fat > PITCH1, FAT] 1. Obs. of or secreting mucus 2. of the pituitary gland n. pl. pituitaries …   English World dictionary

  • pituitary — (adj.) 1610s, from L. pituitarius mucous, from pituita phlegm, mucus. Taken as the name for the gland because it was believed that it channeled mucus to the nose …   Etymology dictionary

  • pituitary — Relating to the p. gland (hypophysis). SYN: pituitarium. [L. pituita, a phlegm] anterior p. the dried, partially defatted, and powdered anterior lobe of the p. gland of cattle, sheep, or swine; now rarely used therapeutically. desiccated p. SYN:… …   Medical dictionary

  • pituitary — I. adjective Etymology: Latin pituita phlegm; from the former belief that the pituitary gland secreted phlegm more at pip Date: 1615 1. of or relating to the pituitary gland 2. caused or characterized by secretory disturbances of the pituitary… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • pituitary — /pi tooh i ter ee, tyooh /, n., pl. pituitaries, adj. n. 1. See pituitary gland. 2. Pharm. the extract obtained from the lobes of the pituitary glands of hogs, sheep, and other domestic animals: the posterior lobe constituent increases blood… …   Universalium

  • pituitary — 1. adjective Of or relating to the pituitary gland. 2. noun a) The pituitary gland. b) The pituitary gland together with the pituitary stalk …   Wiktionary

  • pituitary — pi•tu•i•tar•y [[t]pɪˈtu ɪˌtɛr i, ˈtyu [/t]] n. pl. tar•ies, adj. 1) anat. pituitary gland 2) pha a hormonal extract obtained from pituitary glands for use as a medicine 3) anat. of, pertaining to, or involving the pituitary gland 4) anat. dvl pan …   From formal English to slang

  • pituitary — /pəˈtjuətri / (say puh tyoohuhtree), / təri/ (say tuhree) –noun (plural pituitaries) 1. Anatomy → pituitary gland. 2. Medicine the extract obtained from either the anterior or posterior lobes of the pituitary. The anterior lobe substance… …   Australian English dictionary

  • pituitary — [pɪ tju:ɪt(ə)ri] noun (plural pituitaries) (in full pituitary gland or pituitary body) the major endocrine gland, a pea sized body attached to the base of the brain that is important in controlling growth and the functioning of the other… …   English new terms dictionary

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