Hypothalamic-pituitary system

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Hypothalamic-Pituitary Hormone Properties:

• All related hormones are water soluble.

• Pulsatile hormone-release system, except thyroid system.

Hypothalamic-Pituitary Hormone Production:

Neuronal cell bodies in the arcuate and paraventricular nuclei:

• TRH, CRH, GHRH, somatostatin, PIF.

Preoptic nucleus:

• GnRH.

Hormone Transport:

• Hypothalamus to hypophyseal-portal system to anterior pituitary.

Pituitary stalk:

• Connects hypothalamus and anterior pituitary; if cut, only prolactin increases causing hyperprolactinemia.

Hypothalamic-Pituitary Hormone Effects:

• +TRH affects +TSH.

• +CRH affects +ACTH.

• +GnRH affects +LH, +FSH.

• +GHRH affects +GH.

• +Somatostatin affects -GH.

• +PIF/dopamine affects -prolactin.

Sheehan Syndrome:

• Pituitary in pregnancy is enlarged and vulnerable to infection.


• Causes: medications or diseases affecting hypothalamus or pituitary stalk.

• Findings in men: galactorrhea, decreased libido, impotence, hypogonadism.

• Findings in women: amenorrhea, galactorrhea.

• Treatment: surgically remove tumor or give bromocriptine.

Additional Readings:

Basic Endocrinology

1. Introduction to Endocrinology
2. Hypothalamic-pituitary system
3. Adrenal Hormones
4. Antidiuretic Hormone (ADH) and ECF Regulation
5. Endocrine Pancreas
6. Growth Hormone
7. Adrenal Medulla
8. Hormonal Control of Calcium and Phosphate
9. Thyroid Hormones
10. Hormones of Male Reproduction
11. Hormones of Female Reproduction
12. Fluid Compartments of the Body
13. Notes on Hypothalamus Anterior Pituitary and Thyroid
14. Additional Notes on Female Reproduction
15. Hormonal Signaling Pathways
16. FAQ on Adrenal Hormones
17. FAQ on Male Reproduction
18. Synthesis and Deficiencies of Adrenal Hormones
19. Significance of Glycosylated Hemoblogin (HbA1c)
20. Significance of Measuring Albumin while with Calcium Levels
21. Stepwise Approach to Treatment of Ascites
22. How to differentiate between Diabetes Insipidus vs Psychogenic Polydipsia

Related Topics

1. Histology of the Endocrine System
2. Histology of the Male Reproductive System
3. Histology of the Female Reproductive System

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