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Summary of the hypothalamo-pituitary axis and their hormones



+ - - + + - - + + +
Growth hormone (GH) TSH Prolactin FSH & LH ACTH


Liver & Many Thyroid Breasts & Gonads Adrenal

other cells gland
organs mammary  LH
h ormone):
(Lu teinizing cortex
↑ hepatic
glands * Ov ula tio n,
e str adio l
ov arian
IGF-I,II ↑ thyroid p roges ter one s ynt hesis

Stimulates (In male).
(insulin-like hormones glucocori
growth growth & (T 3 & T 4 ) ↑ Milk
* Te stos ter one
s yn thesis (In male).
factors) → ↑ influence synthesis and  FSH (follic le coids e.g
synthesis s timu lat ing hor mo ne):
general organic stimulate cortisol.
body and *
g rowth
Ov arian
fo llic le
es tra diol
growing & metabolism secretion. breast s yn thesis (In female).
metabolism development * Sper mat ogene sis (In
. m ale).
Control of the anterior pituitary secretion:

Functions of the posterior pituitary (neurohypophysis) hormones =

some of the hormones of the hypothalamus:
1- Oxytocin:
i- In females:
a) On the breast:
Oxytocin is important in the process of lactation, as it causes milk to be ejected, so
that the baby can obtain it. This occurs under effect of sucking of the breast at the
nipple which causes nerve signals to be transmitted to the hypothalamus, thereby
stimulates release of oxytocin into the blood then to the breast, where it causes
contraction of smooth muscles (myoepithelial cells) that surround the aveoli. In
less than a minute after the beginning of suckling, milk begins to flow.
b) Onthe uterus:
During the late stages of pregnancy oxytocin causes contraction of the smooth
muscles in the uterus i.e. uterine contraction, which is responsible for childbirth
(baby delivery).
So, oxytocin is often given to prospective mothers to hasten birth.
Functions of the posterior pituitary (neurohypophysis) hormones =
some of the hormones of the hypothalamus: (continue)
1- Oxytocin:
i- In males:
Males synthesize oxytocin in the same region of the hypothalamus as in females. It
seemed to be involved in some reproductive functions, as facilitating sperm
transport within the male reproductive system.
Oxytocin also acts on the amygdale in the brain as a neurotransmitter where it
 Bonding between a mother and her newborn.
 Bonding between males and females after they have married and
 In humans, increases the level of one's trust in other people.

So, oxytocin is called the hormone of love.

Functions of the posterior pituitary (neurohypophysis) hormones =
some of the hormones of the hypothalamus: (continue)
2- - Vasopressin (VP) (antidiuretic hormone) (ADH):
1- On the kidneys:
ADH increases the permeability of kidney tubules (distal tubules & collecting
ducts) to water, causing increased water re-absorption, thereby increases the body
water content and decreases urine volume (anti-diuretic action).
2- On the blood vessels:
Also, ADH acts to constrict the blood vessels (vasoconstrictor), and thus increases
the blood pressure, but this occurs only when the hormone is secreted in large
Diabetes insipidus:
Diabetes insipidus is the condition of ADH deficiency. As a result, the kidneys
become unable to reabsorb water and large amounts of fluids are lost in the urine,
up to 12-15 liters daily (polyuria). This causes a constant sensation of thirst
(polydipsia) which occurs secondary to polyuria.

Note that, diabetes insipidus differs distinctly from what is termed diabetes