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Endocrine glands and their hormones

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.

Below is a list of the main glands, some of the hormones they produce and what effects they have on the body.


  • Major hormones – 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

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

  • Major hormones – adrenaline, noradrenaline, cortisol, aldosterone
  • Influences – stress response and blood pressure/salt control


  • 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.

Last reviewed: July 2017

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