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Published on Aug 3, 2007
The Endocrine Glands
Hormones maintain the equilibrium of the body's chemistry and regulate growth and development. They are produced by the system of endocrine glands, which secrete them directly into the bloodstream for distribution throughout the body. There are nine endocrine glands throughout the body. The anterior pituitary gland produces thyroid-stimulating hormone or TSH, adrenocortico trophic hormone or ACTH, follicle-stimulating hormone or FSH, luteinizing hormone or LH, prolactin and growth hormone or GH . The posterior pituitary gland produces oxytocin, which helps induce labor and causes milk release, and antidiuretic hormone or ADH, which promotes water retention by the kidneys. The thyroid gland produces triiodothyronine and thyroxine, which increase metabolic rate. The Parathyroid glands produce parathormone or PTH, which raises the level of calcium in the blood. The pancreas produces insulin, which decreases blood sugar levels, and glucagon, which increases blood sugar levels. The adrenal cortex produces glucocorticoids, affecting protein and carbohydrate metabolism, mineralorcorticoids, regulating body fluid concentration, and sex hormones. The adrenal medulla produces adrenaline and noradrenaline, which prepare the body for "fight or flight". The testes produce testosterone, which maintains the male secondary sexual characteristics. The ovaries produce progesterone, which help to prepare the uterus for pregnancy, together with estrogen, which also produces the female secondary sexual characteristics.