The Pituiutary is located by at the base of the brain, just below the hypothalamus. It sits within a small cavity in the sphenoid bone of the skull known as the hypophyseal fossa.
The pituitary is divided into three sections: the anterior, intermediate, and posterior lobes.
The anterior lobe is mainly involved in development of the body, sexual maturation, and reproduction. Hormones produced by the anterior lobe regulate growth, and stimulate the adrenal and thyroid glands, as well as the ovaries and testes.
The intermediate lobe of the pituitary gland releases a hormone that stimulates the melanocytes, cells which control pigmentation. (Melanin)
The posterior lobe produces antidiuretic hormone, which reclaims water from the kidneys and conserves it in the bloodstream to prevent dehydration. Oxytocin is also produced by the posterior lobe, aiding in uterine contractions during childbirth and stimulating the production and release of milk.
The pituitary secretes Thyroid-Stimuating Hormone, Follicle stimulating Hormone, and Adrenocorticotropic hormone.
The pituitary gland is sometimes called the "master" gland of the endocrine system because it controls the functions of many of the other endocrine glands.
A deficiency of growth hormone secretion before puberty (by the end of which the synthesis of new bone tissue is complete) results in pituitary dwarfism. A common cause of dwarfism is a genetic mutation that affects bone growth.
Treatments are aimed at reducing complications. Surgery may help stabilize and correct the shape of the spine. Hormone therapy may increase final height in some cases.