Glands are collectively defined as the special organs which produce, store and release certain substances (called Hormones) to perform specific functions in different physiological processes in our body.
Hormones are complex chemical compounds which may be derived from Peptides, Amino acids & Lipids and released from various glands on demand basis. The hormones, released from each gland, act like a chemical messenger and stimulate / trigger the physiological processes in various organs. The Hormones are also known as molecules of life.
The Glands may be of two categories. The Gland, secreting a hormone, which is directly mixed with blood without any duct, is called ductless gland or Endocrine gland and in another category, the hormone, secreted, is fetched by way of a duct to the targeted tissue cluster. Such a gland is called a duct gland or Exocrine gland. Both glands secrete different Hormones as per the details, given below:
Endocrine glands: There are nine (9) major Endocrine glands, found in our body.
1. Pituitary gland: This is a major endocrine gland, also called Master gland because many important hormones are activated and secreted from this gland. It is a Pea shaped gland, situated below Hypothalamus in midbrain. Many Hormones are secreted from this gland like ACTH, GH, FSH, LH, PH TSH, MSH, ADH & OH etc.
2. Pineal gland: This gland is derived with the shape of a Pinecone. It is situated in the mid-brain behind the 3rd cerebral ventricle. This gland is also called “Seat of Soul” or, “third eye”. The Melatonin Hormone (MH) is secreted from this gland.
3. Thyroid: This is a Butterfly shaped gland & also known as Adam’s gland. It is located in the front side of the neck. The Calcitonin Hormone (CH) & Thyroxine Hormone (TH) are secreted from Thyroid.
4. Parathyroid: These are four small Pea shaped glands, found behind the Thyroid gland. The Parathyroid Hormone (PH) is secreted from this gland.
5. Adrenal gland: This is a small gland, also known as Suprarenal gland & found in pair above each Kidney. This gland has outer Cortex & inner Medulla. The AH, HH, EH & NH are secreted from this gland.
6. Pancreas: This is a Pear shaped, 6-10 inches long organ, located in the upper left abdomen behind the stomach. It is an endocrine as well as exocrine gland and it is the largest gland. The Insulin Hormone (IH) is secreted from this gland.
7. Ovary: This is an oval shaped female reproductive organ, found in pairs on either side of Uterus. The Estrogen Hormone (EH) & Progesterone Hormone (PH) are secreted from this gland.
8. Testes: This is a sperm producing male reproductive organ, found in pairs & also called Gonad. The Testosterone Hormone (TH) is secreted from this gland.
9. Kidney: This is a 4-5 inches long Bean shaped structure, situated at either side of the spine below Ribs. The Erythropoietin Hormone (EH) is secreted from this gland.
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Please see the table below for details:
Exocrine glands: There are following nine (9) major Exocrine glands, found in our body.
1. Sweat gland: This gland is found in skin for removing Toxins.
2. Salivary gland: This gland is found in Mouth to support initial digestion.
3. Mammary gland:This gland is found in Breasts for lactation.
4. Ceruminous gland:This gland is found in Ears for removal of Toxins.
5. Lacrimal gland: This gland is found in a pair around each eye.
6. Sebaceous gland: This gland is located in the skin and opens into the Hair follicle. They secrete an oily or waxy matter (called Sebum) for lubricating Hair and Skin of our body.
7. Prostate gland: This gland is walnut shaped and found below the Urinary bladder in front of Rectum. The Urethra runs through the centre of Penis. The main function of Prostate gland is to produce a fluid which stores sperm cells in Testicles and forms the Semen. The muscles of this gland also helps forceful outward ejaculation of semen.
8. Adrenal gland: This gland is found above Kidney for sex hormone production.
9. Mucuous gland: As already discussed, this gland is also called muciparous gland and it is found in Larynx and proximal areas of Trachea.
Other important Hormones
Hypothalamus: It is an important part of the brain and located at the base of the midbrain near the Pituitary gland. The most significant role of Hypothalamus is seen in alerting the Pituitary gland to release many hormones of endocrine glands. It maintains a link between the nervous and endocrine system so as to regulate homeostasis of the body.
Oxytocin and Vasopressin, called primary hormones, are responsible for romance & love. Men are more affected by Vasopressin and women are affected by Oxytocin. These hormones are produced in Hypothalamus and transmitted in the bloodstream by Pituitary gland.
Similarly, Dopamine hormone is called “Feel-good Hormone” and it is associated with sensation of pleasure, Learning, Memory etc.
Melatonin hormone affects the wake-sleep cycle. It is produced in Pineal gland.
Most Endocrine hormones are non-steroid type.