Organs of the Endocrine System

Organs of the Endocrine System


This lesson will describe the organs associated with the endocrine system and will give descriptions of the hormones they are responsible for secreting.

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  • Hypothalamus

    An area of the cerebrum that is located below the thalamus that controls that activity of the pituitary gland.

  • Pituitary Gland

    Called the “master gland” because of its effects on other glands; endocrine hormones increase activity/secretion of many major glands of the endocrine system.

  • Adrenal Glands

    Located on top of the kidneys, the adrenal glands have two anatomic divisions: the renal cortex and the renal medulla. The renal cortex secretes hormones that regulate body mineral levels, metabolism, and aid in the production of sex hormones. The adrenal medulla releases hormones called catecholamines (adrenaline) that elevate our metabolism in response to stress.

  • Ovaries

    The primary sex organs of females and are their primary source of estrogen and progesterone; the ovaries are also where the female gamete (ova/eggs) are matured and released from.

  • Testes

    The primary sex organs of males and are their primary source of testosterone; the testes are also where the male gamete (sperm) is produced and matured.

  • Pineal Gland

    A gland located in the cerebrum that secretes melatonin, an important hormone for regulating sleep/wake cycles.

  • Thyroid Gland

    The largest endocrine gland located on the anterior trachea, the thyroid gland secretes hormones that elevate basal metabolic rate (BMR) called T₃ and T₄. The thyroid gland also secretes a hormone called calcitonin that lowers blood calcium levels by increasing renal excretion of calcium and inhibiting osteoclasts.

  • Parathyroid Glands

    A group of glands on the posterior thyroid that secrete parathyroid hormone to increase blood calcium levels by decreasing renal excretion of calcium and increasing osteoclast activity.

  • Thymus Gland

    A gland located in the mediastinum above the heart that secretes thymosins that regulate immune activity.

  • Pancreas

    A mixed gland (both endocrine and exocrine); the endocrine functions of the pancreas are to secrete insulin and glucagon to regulate blood glucose levels.