Anterior Pituitary Gland

(Move cursor across hormone abbreviations)

The diagram above shows you the relative position of these glands and some of their hormone activity. It also shows anatomically where the hormone is produced, and the route it takes into the circulation of the rest of the body. If you place your cursor on the name of a hormone, you'll learn more about that hormone's place in the complex cycle of endocrine control.

For this course, you are not responsible for learning everything this diagram offers, but it should help place the individual hormones and releasing factors in anatomical context.

During pregnancy, the pituitary gland enlarges. By weight, it increases 30% in first pregnancies, and 50% in subsequent pregnancies. These changes are almost entirely due to changes in the anterior lobe. The anterior lobe of the pituitary is glandular tissue and produces multiple hormones. The release of these hormones is regulated by releasing and inhibiting hormones produced by the hypothalamus.

Some of these anterior pituitary hormones induce other glands to secrete their hormones. The rise in blood levels of the hormones produced by the final target glands (for example, the ovary or thyroid) inhibits the release of anterior pituitary hormones.

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Growth hormone (GH) is decreased during pregnancy, but during pregnancy the hormone Human Placental Lactogen (HPL) is thought to play a similar role.

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