Endocrine glands

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Definition

Endocrine glands release (secrete) hormones into the bloodstream.

The endocrine glands include:

  • Adrenal
  • Hypothalamus
  • Islets of Langerhans in the pancreas
  • Ovaries
  • Parathyroid
  • Pineal
  • Pituitary
  • Testes
  • Thyroid

Information

Hypersecretion is when an excess of one or more hormone is secreted from a gland. Hyposecretion is when the amount of hormones are released is too low.

There are many types of disorders that can result when too much or too little of a hormone is released.

Disorders that may be associated with abnormal hormone product from a particular gland include:

Adrenal:

Pancreas:

Parathyroid:

  • Tetany
  • Renal calculi
  • Excessive loss of minerals from bone (osteoporosis)

Pituitary:

Testes and ovaries:

  • Lack of sex development (unclear genitalia)

Thyroid:

Images

Endocrine glands
Brain-thyroid link

References

Guber HA, Farag AF. Evaluation of endocrine function. In: McPherson RA, Pincus MR, eds. Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 23rd ed. St Louis, MO: Elsevier; 2017:chap 24.

Klatt EC. The endocrine system. In: Klatt EC, ed. Robbins and Cotran Atlas of Pathology. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 15.

Kronenberg HM, Melmed S, Larsen PR, Polonsky KS. Principles of endocrinology. In: Melmed S, Polonsky KS, Larsen PR, Kronenberg HM, eds. Williams Textbook of Endocrinology. 13th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 1.

Review Date: 
4/26/2019
Reviewed By: 
David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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