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The anterior pituitary (also called the adenohypophysis, from Greek adeno, "gland"; hypo, "under"; physis, "growth"; hence, glandular undergrowth) comprises the anterior lobe of the pituitary gland and is part of the endocrine system. Unlike the posterior lobe, the anterior lobe is genuinely glandular, hence the root adeno in its name.
The term "pars distalis" is sometimes used as a synonym for the anterior pituitary, but this is not quite correct. The anterior pituitary is usually divided into three regions:
The function of the tuberalis is not well characterized, and most of the rest of this article refers primarily to the distalis.
Unlike the posterior pituitary (pars nervosa), which originates from neural ectoderm, the anterior pituitary arises from an invagination of the oral mucosa called Rathke's pouch (which is itself ectoderm derived).
This differentiation is exhibited by the fact that while the posterior pituitary merely secretes those hormones produced in the hypothalamus (ADH and oxytocin), the anterior pituitary actually produces its hormones, while being under control of the hypothalamus as to when they should be secreted.
Major hormones secreted
A useful acronym for the hormones secreted by the anterior pituitary is 'B-FLAT A-PEG' (Basophils release FSH, LH, ACTH, TSH, and Acidophils release Prolactin, Endorphins, GH).
Hypothalamic releasing and release-inhibiting factors
Hormone secretion from the anterior pituitary gland is regulated by hormones secreted by the hypothalamus. Neuroendocrine neurons in the hypothalamus project axons to the median eminence, at the base of the brain. At this site, these neurons can release substances into small blood vessels that travel directly to the anterior pituitary gland (the hypothalamo-hypophysial portal vessels).
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Anterior_pituitary". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|