Merck Manual

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Major Hormones

Major Hormones

Endocrine Gland

Hormone(s) Produced

Function

Pituitary gland (anterior lobe)

Corticotropin (adrenocorticotropic hormone)

Stimulates the production and secretion of hormones by the adrenal cortex

Growth hormone (somatotropin)

Promotes growth of the body and influences the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids

Follicle-stimulating hormone

Stimulates the growth of follicles in the ovaries and induces the formation of sperm in the testes

Luteinizing hormone

Stimulates ovulation and the development of the corpus luteum in the female and the production of testosterone by the testes in the male

Prolactin

Stimulates the mammary glands to produce and secrete milk

Thyroid-stimulating hormone

Stimulates the production and secretion of thyroid hormones by the thyroid gland

Pituitary gland (posterior lobe)

Antidiuretic hormone; also known as arginine vasopressin

Causes the kidneys to conserve water by concentrating the urine and reducing urine volume; also has lesser role in regulating blood pressure

Oxytocin

Stimulates the contraction of smooth muscle of the uterus during labor and facilitates ejection of milk from the breast during nursing

Parathyroid glands

Parathyroid hormone

Raises the blood calcium concentration by promoting absorption of calcium by the intestine, mobilizing calcium salts from bones, and increasing the ability of the kidney to recover calcium from urine; also lowers phosphate by enhancing its excretion by the kidneys

Thyroid glands

Thyroid hormones (T3 and T4 )

Increase the basal metabolic rate; synthesize proteins; also regulate protein, fat, and carbohydrate metabolism

Calcitonin

Participates in calcium and phosphorus metabolism; reduces calcium levels in the blood

Adrenal glands

Aldosterone

Helps regulate salt and water balance by retaining sodium (salt) and water and excreting potassium

Cortisol

Has widespread effects throughout the body; involved in the response to stress; active in carbohydrate, fat, and protein metabolism; helps maintain blood sugar level; suppresses inflammation and immune responses; can interfere with the healing of wounds and decrease scar formation

Epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine

Released in response to stress; stimulates heart action and increases cardiac output, blood pressure, metabolic rate, and blood glucose concentration; also raises blood sugar and fatty acid levels

Pancreas

Insulin

Lowers blood sugar level; affects the metabolism of sugar, protein, and fat

Glucagon

Raises blood sugar level, thus opposing the action of insulin

Ovaries

Estrogen

Controls female reproductive system, along with other hormones; also involved in maturation of reproductive organs at puberty

Progesterone

Prepares the uterus for implantation of the fertilized egg, maintains pregnancy, and promotes development of the mammary glands

Testes

Testosterone

Responsible for the development of the male reproductive system and secondary male sexual characteristics