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Endocrine glands and their hormones

1-minute read

The hormonal system (called the endocrine system in medical terminology) has various glands that release different hormones. It's the way in which one part of the body (the gland) tells another part of the body (the target cell) to do something important. The endocrine glands influence reproduction, metabolism, growth and many other functions.

Below is a list of the main glands (see diagram for their location), some of the hormones they produce and what effects they have on the body.

Hypothalamus

  • major hormones — anti-diuretic hormone (ADH), oxytocin and various hormones that stimulate the pituitary gland
  • influences — nervous and hormonal systems

Pituitary gland

  • major hormones — luteinising hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), prolactin, growth hormone, thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), oxytocin, anti-diuretic hormone (ADH), adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH)
  • influences — reproduction, growth, childbirth, breastfeeding, hormone regulation
Illustration showing the endocrine system.
The endocrine system.

Pineal gland

Thyroid gland

  • major hormones — tri-iodothyronine (T3), thyroxine (T4), calcitonin
  • influence — metabolism, bone health

Parathyroid gland

  • major hormones — parathyroid hormone
  • influences — calcium and vitamin D regulation

Adrenal glands

Pancreas

  • major hormones — insulin, glucagon, somatostatin
  • influences — blood sugar control

Ovaries (females only)

  • major hormones — oestrogen, progesterone
  • influences — female characteristics

Testes (males only)

  • major hormones — testosterone
  • influences — male characteristics

Find out more about the hormonal system.

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Last reviewed: November 2018

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