The hypothalamus controls the function of the anterior pituitary, as it sends signals to the pituitary to release or inhibit pituitary hormone production.
The mnemonic “FLAT PeG” can be used to recall all of the hormones released by the anterior pituitary. These are follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), prolactin, endorphins, and growth hormone (GH).
Follicle-stimulating hormone stimulates the gonads, and is essential to the function of women’s ovaries and the menstrual cycle, along with male development.
LH, or luteinizing hormone, triggers ovulation and development of the corpus luteum in females, and functions in testosterone development in males.
ACTH (Adrenocorticotropic hormone) is released in response to simulation of the anterior pituitary by CRF (Corticotropin-releasing factor), and stimulates the adrenal glands to produce corticosteroids.
TSH is released by the anterior pituitary and targets the thyroid gland. Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) stimulates the thyroid gland into producing thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), both of which stimulate metabolism in most tissues.
Prolactin targets the mammary glands and triggers milk production. It promotes lactation in response to the suckling stimulus. Remember that this is a direct hormone, which goes to target cells. The anterior pituitary also releases endorphins, which similarly work in this direct manner.
Growth-hormone-releasing hormone is secreted by the hypothalamus and triggers the release of growth hormone from the anterior pituitary. Growth Hormone (GH) is a peptide hormone which stimulates cell reproduction, cell regeneration, and growth.
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