The Pituitary Gland

'The Master Gland of the Endocrine System'
The pituitary gland is the size of a pea, and is situated at the base of the brain, just behind the nose. It sits in a bony depression known as the pituitary fossa.
Although it is small in size, the pituitary gland plays an essential role in co-ordinating various body functions. For this reason, the pituitary gland is known as the’master gland’.
The pituitary gland comprises various types of cells and each cell type is responsible for producing a certain hormone (message). These cells can sometimes develop into pituitary tumours.

Pituitary hormone

Target in the body

Action in the body



Milk for breast feeding a baby

Growth hormone (GH)

Bones and cartilage

Regulation of growth

Adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH)

Adrenal glands

Cortisol production, stress response, blood pressure regulation

Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH)

Thyroid gland

Thyroid hormone production; regulates metabolism

Luteinising hormone (LH) and Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH)

Ovaries (women), testes (men)

Regulates fertility

Subpages (1): Pituitary adenomas