File:Hypothalamus endocrine system.jpg

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Hypothalamus Endocrine Axis

Note this cartoon depicts a fictional hybrid human with both female and male gonads.

Endocrine Links: Introduction | BGD Lecture | Science Lecture | Lecture Movie | pineal | hypothalamus‎ | pituitary | thyroid | parathyroid | thymus | pancreas | adrenal | endocrine gonad‎ | endocrine placenta | other tissues | Stage 22 | endocrine abnormalities | Hormones | Category:Endocrine
Historic Embryology - Endocrine  
1903 Islets of Langerhans | 1903 Pig Adrenal | 1904 interstitial Cells | 1908 Pancreas Different Species | 1908 Pituitary | 1908 Pituitary histology | 1911 Rathke's pouch | 1912 Suprarenal Bodies | 1914 Suprarenal Organs | 1915 Pharynx | 1916 Thyroid | 1918 Rabbit Hypophysis | 1920 Adrenal | 1935 Mammalian Hypophysis | 1926 Human Hypophysis | 1927 Adrenal | 1927 Hypophyseal fossa | 1930 Adrenal | 1932 Pineal Gland and Cysts | 1935 Hypophysis | 1935 Pineal | 1937 Pineal | 1935 Parathyroid | 1940 Adrenal | 1941 Thyroid | 1950 Thyroid Parathyroid Thymus | 1957 Adrenal

Hypothalamus is a small region located within the brain that controls many bodily functions, including eating and drinking, sexual functions and behaviors, blood pressure and heart rate, body temperature maintenance, the sleep-wake cycle, and emotional states (e.g., fear, pain, anger, and pleasure). Hypothalamic hormones play pivotal roles in the regulation of many of those functions. Because the hypothalamus is part of the central nervous system, the hypothalamic hormones actually are produced by nerve cells (i.e., neurons).

Anterior pituitary produces several important hormones that either stimulate target glands (e.g., the adrenal glands, gonads, or thyroid gland) to produce target gland hormones or directly affect target organs. The pituitary hormones include adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH); gonadotropins; thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), also called thyrotropin; growth hormone (GH); and prolactin. Three of these hormones ACTH, gonadotropins, and TSH act on other glands.

  • ACTH stimulates the adrenal cortex to produce corticosteroid hormones— primarily cortisol—as well as small amounts of female and male sex hormones.
  • Gonadotropins comprise two molecules, luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). These two hormones regulate the production of female and male sex hormones in the ovaries and testes as well as the production of the germ cells—that is, the egg cells (i.e., ova) and sperm cells (i.e., spermatozoa).
  • TSH stimulates the thyroid gland to produce and release thyroid hormone. The remaining two pituitary hormones, GH and prolactin, directly affect their target organs.
  • ACTH - Adrenocorticotropic hormone, corticotropin
  • GH - growth hormone, human growth hormone, somatotropin or somatropin
  • LH - luteinizing hormone
  • TSH - Thyroid-stimulating hormone, thyrotropin

Other Endocrine Axes


Hiller-Sturmhöfel S & Bartke A. (1998). The endocrine system: an overview. Alcohol Health Res World , 22, 153-64. PMID: 15706790



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Cite this page: Hill, M.A. (2024, May 29) Embryology Hypothalamus endocrine system.jpg. Retrieved from

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current16:57, 15 May 2012Thumbnail for version as of 16:57, 15 May 2012654 × 900 (60 KB)Z8600021 (talk | contribs)==Hypothalamus Endocrine Axis== ===Reference=== <pubmed>15706790</pubmed> Unless otherwise noted in the text, all material appearing in this journal is in the public domain and may be reproduced without permission. Citation of the source is appreci