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Health Library : Endocrinology


Hormones and the Endocrine System

The endocrine system uses hormones to control and coordinate your body's internal metabolism (or homeostasis), energy level, reproduction, growth and development, and response to injury, stress, and environmental factors. Consider the following hormones and their role in the workings of the endocrine system:

Where the hormone is produced Hormone(s) secreted Hormone function
Adrenal glands Aldosterone Regulates salt, water balance, and blood pressure
Adrenal glands Corticosteroid Controls key functions in the body; acts as an anti-inflammatory; maintains blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and muscle strength; regulates salt and water balance
Pituitary gland Antidiuretic hormone (vasopressin) Affects water retention in kidneys; controls blood pressure
Pituitary gland Adrenocorticotropin (ACTH) Controls production and secretion of adrenal cortex hormones (cortisol and aldosterone)
Pituitary gland Growth hormone (GH) Affects growth and development; stimulates protein production; affects fat distribution
Pituitary gland Luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) Controls reproductive functioning and sexual characteristics
Pituitary gland Oxytocin Stimulates contraction of uterus and milk ducts in the breast
Pituitary gland Prolactin Initiates and maintains milk production in breasts: impacts sex hormone levels
Pituitary gland Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) Stimulates the production and secretion of thyroid hormones
Kidneys Renin and angiotensin Controls blood pressure
Kidneys Erythropoietin Affects red blood cell (RBC) production
Pancreas Glucagon Raises blood sugar levels
Pancreas Insulin Lowers blood sugar levels; stimulates metabolism of glucose, protein, and fat
Ovaries Estrogen Affects development of female sexual characteristics and reproductive development
Ovaries Progesterone Stimulates the lining of the uterus for fertilization; prepares the breasts for milk production
Parathyroid glands Parathyroid hormone (PTH) Affects bone formation and excretion of calcium and phosphorus
Thyroid gland Thyroid hormone Affects growth, maturation, nervous system activity, and metabolism

Adrenal glands

Epinephrine Increases heart rate, oxygen intake and blood flow

Adrenal glands

Norepinephrine Maintains normal body activities

Testes (testicles)

Testosterone Develops and maintains male sexual characteristics and maturation

Pineal gland

Melatonin May play a role in gonadotropin (sex hormones) regulation


Growth hormone releasing hormone (GHRH) Regulates growth hormone release in the pituitary gland


Thyrotropin releasing hormone (TRH) Regulates thyroid stimulating hormone release in the pituitary gland


Gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) Regulates LH/FSH production in the pituitary gland


Corticotropin releasing hormone (CRH) Regulates adrenocorticotropin release in the pituitary gland


Humoral Factors Helps develop the Lymphoid System

Click here to view the
Online Resources of Endocrinology

 Sources & References


 Find an MUSC Doctor:
 »Pediatric Endocrinology

 Treatment at MUSC:
 »Head and Neck Tumor Program



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