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.

Relating to or produced by the pituitary gland.

Caused by a disturbance of the pituitary gland.