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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Pituitary Hormones. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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The Pituitary Gland

The pituitary gland is roughly the size of a pea, 1 cm in diameter, and weighs only 0.5 grams. Despite its size and weight, it has the distinction of being known as the master endocrine organ, regulating the release of hormones from target organs that control growth, development, metabolism, fertility, hydration, stress, and mood, among other roles. By integrating chemical signals from the brain with the feedback associated with the circulating hormones produced by the target organs, the pituitary gland is intricately involved in maintaining a well-orchestrated balance between the stimulation and suppression of vital functions.

This exercise will detail the relationship between the pituitary gland and its target organs, summarize its many regulatory roles, and will explore some of the more common disorders of the pituitary and how the laboratory plays a vital role in helping physicians diagnose and manage these conditions.