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Organs of the Endocrine System

Organs of the Endocrine System

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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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Tutorial

What's Covered

Welcome to this lesson today on organs of the endocrine system. Today you are going to be looking at a brief overview of the various organs and the hormones that they secrete that are all associated with the endocrine system. Specifically, you will learn about:

  1. Hypothalamus
  2. Pituitary Gland
  3. Pineal Gland
  4. Thyroid & Parathyroid Glands
  5. Thymus Gland
  6. Pancreas
  7. Adrenal Glands
  8. Ovaries & Testes

1. Hypothalamus

The hypothalamus produces hormones such as ADH and oxytocin. So ADH is also known as the antidiuretic hormone. Oxytocin is a hormone that plays a role in childbirth, among other aspects as well.

Term to Know

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

2. Pituitary Gland

The pituitary gland is a gland that works very closely with the hypothalamus. So the pituitary gland, basically it stores and releases hormones that were produced in the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus will produces some hormones and then those hormones will be stored and released by the pituitary gland. In addition to that, the pituitary gland also makes and secretes some of its own hormones, such as growth hormone, luteinizing hormone, and follicle stimulating hormone.

Term to Know

    • 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.

3. Pineal Gland

Another part of the endocrine system that we'll discuss is the pineal gland. The pineal gland is a gland that secretes melatonin, which is a hormone that plays a role in our sleep and wake cycles.

Term to Know

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

4. Thyroid & Parathyroid Glands

The thyroid gland is located on the neck and has a couple of different roles. It releases thyroid hormone, abbreviated TH, which plays a role in metabolism. It also releases calcitonin, which is a hormone that plays a role in bone remodeling. Those are the two main hormones released by the thyroid gland. Parathyroid glands are, found on the thyroid gland and also plays a role in bone remodeling. There are actually four parathyroid glands.

Terms to Know

    • 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.

5. Thymus Gland

The thymus gland releases thymosins and is also where T-cells, which are a part of our immune system. The thymus is where T-cells are actually stored and allowed to mature.

Term to Know

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

6. Pancreas

The role of the pancreas is to make and secrete insulin and glucagon. Insulin is a hormone that lowers blood sugar levels and glucagon is a hormone that raises blood sugar levels. Somebody who is diabetic, for example, their body doesn't create or secrete the hormone insulin. Because of this they have take insulin injections in order to help lower blood sugar levels in their body.

Term to Know

    • 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.

7. Adrenal Glands

The two adrenal glands, found on top of the kidneys, are the next organ of the endocrine system we're going to talk about. Adrenal glands basically secrete the hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine, which create the of that fight or flight response that prepare the body for different types of situations.

Term to Know

    • 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.
IN CONTEXT
If you're in a dangerous situation, you get that rush of adrenaline. That feeling is coming from hormones the adrenal gland is releasing. It also sends out cortisol and aldosterone in response to stress.



8. Ovaries & Testes

If you move on to male and female-specific organs of the endocrine system, for the females you have the ovaries. So the ovaries basically release progesterone and estrogen.. And for male-specific organs of the endocrine system, you have the testes, which make and secrete testosterone.

Terms to Know

    • 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.

Summary

So this lesson has been an overview on the various organs of the endocrine system, as well as the different hormones that those organs create and secrete. Specifically, you learned about the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, pineal gland, the thyroid & parathyroid glands, thymus gland, pancreas, adrenal glands, and the ovaries and testes.

Keep up the learning and have a great day!

Source: THIS WORK IS ADAPTED FROM SOPHIA AUTHOR AMANDA SODERLIND

TERMS TO KNOW
  • 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.