Hormones Secreted from the Anterior Pituitary

Adrenocorticotropic Hormone (ACTH)

ACTH is a 39 amino acid hormone that simulates cortisol production by the adrenal gland. It also stimulates secretion and growth of both the zona fasciculate and zona reticularis of the adrenal cortex and provides negative feedback to hypo-thalamic CRH release.

Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH)

TSH is a glycoprotein with 211 amino acids and stimulates production and release of thyroxine (T4) and 3,5,3-triiodothyronine (T3). TSH stimulates iodide transport into thyroid cells and growth of the thyroid gland itself and provides negative feedback to TRH release from the hypothalamus.

GH is an amino acid peptide hormone that stimulates longitudinal growth of bone and insulin secretion by the pancreas. It antagonizes insulin effects on sugar uptake and fatty acid release but enhances the anabolic effect of insulin on amino acid uptake. Growth hormone produces a positive nitrogen and phosphorus balance. It stimulates hepatocyte growth and adipocyte metabolism with mobilization of free fatty acids from adipose tissue, favoring ketogenesis. GH increases hepatic glucose output, promotes hyperglycemia.

It has significant anabolic effects in burn patients and induces release of so-matomedins, or insulin-like growth factors IGF-1 and IGF-2, to regulate metabolism and produce anabolism. Somatomedins produce feedback inhibition of GH release from the pituitary and stimulate somatostatin release from the hypothalamus

Luteinizing Hormone (LH)

It stimulates Leydig cells in males to produce testosterone. Midcycle surge in females causes follicular rupture, ovulation and establishment and maintenance of the corpus luteum.

Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH)

FSH promotes spermatogenesis in Sertoli cells in males and stimulates maturation of the Graafian follicle and its production of estradiol in females.


Prolactin is synthesized and released in response to sucking of the nipple. Secretion is also increased by exercise or surgical and psychological stress. Acts in the breast to initiate and sustain lactation and inhibits the effects of gonadotropins FSH and LH.

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