A pea-sized gland at the base of the brain stem that makes and stores many hormones that travel throughout the body and help direct certain processes of the body or stimulate other glands to produce hormones.  It is part of the endocrine system (thyroid, adrenal glands, ovaries, and testes) that is often referred to as the “master gland” and helps regulate functions of other endocrine system glands; though it does not regulate the endocrine system alone.  It is comprised of two lobes:  anterior and posterior.  The anterior lobe produces and releases hormones.  The posterior lobe does not produce hormones per se, but does store them and release them into circulation when prompted by the hypothalmus.  The pituitary is connected to the hypothalmus by the pituitary stalk and nerve fibers therein.  In certain instances, the hypothalmus sends signals to stimulate or inhibit hormone production and release.  The pituitary acts as the hypothalmus prompts it to do so.


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