Med-Surg Endocrine System, part 2: Organs, glands & hormone overview
by Cathy Parkes July 30, 2020 Updated: January 25, 2022 4 min read
In this video, Cathy gives an Anatomy & Physiology review of the main organs and glands that are part of the Endocrine system, as well as the most important types of hormones to remember. Knowing these hormones and where they're produced is key to understanding endocrine diseases and disorders, which will come later in the series.
The hypothalamus is a small portion of the brain that produces four key hormones:
- Corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH)
- Thyroid-releasing hormone (TRH)
- Growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH)
- Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH)
These begin with C, T, G, G. Cathy has a handy mnemonic to remember CTGG: "Cutthroat/good game." That was a cut throat game...but good game!
The pituitary is a small gland in the brain, often called the "master gland," and it secretes hormones from the anterior and posterior.
Hormones released by the anterior pituitary gland
- Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) — See normal TSH levels
- Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)
- Luteinizing hormone (LH)
- Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)
- Growth hormone (GH)
You can remember what's released by the anterior pituitary using this potty-humor mnemonic: T-P F-L-A-G. Cathy thinks about the anterior pituitary surrendering hormones and flying a white TP flag.
Hormones released by the posterior pituitary gland
The thyroid gland is an endocrine gland located in the neck, and it releases three important hormones.
We have four parathyroid glands located right next to the thyroid gland. They produce parathyroid hormone (PTH).
The adrenal glands rest on top of the kidneys. Some hormones are released from the adrenal cortex, which is the outer layer of the adrenal gland, and then some are released from the adrenal medulla, which is the inside of the adrenal gland. Blood pressure regulation is just one of these hormones' important functions.
Hormones released by the adrenal cortex
Hormones released by the adrenal medulla
The hormones released by the adrenal medulla are epinephrine and norepinephrine.
The pancreas is located behind the stomach. The blood sugar-regulating hormones produced by the pancreas are:
The testes are another endocrine gland, and they produce the sex hormone testosterone.
The ovaries are endocrine glands. The sex hormones ovaries produce are:
In this video, we are going to go over the organs and glands that release hormones in the body, and we will briefly cover which hormones they produce. In the subsequent videos we will go into more details about each of those key hormones. So there are dozens of hormones in the body, and we're not going to cover them all, but we are going to cover the ones that I think are most important for you to know as a nurse or a nursing student so that you can better understand the disorders of the endocrine system. So if you are following along with cards, the information I'm going to talk about in this video will be on cards two through four, and I'm now going to bring up an illustration that is on card four, to talk about all of those organs and hormones.
Let's talk about the organs and glands of the endocrine system, and what hormones they produce.
Starting with the hypothalamus, the hypothalamus is located in the brain and it produces four key hormones that I'd be familiar with. One is corticotropin-releasing hormone. Then we have thyroid-releasing hormone, growth hormone-releasing hormone, and gonadotropin-releasing hormone. You notice that all four of these end in that releasing hormone.
And then if you look at the first letter of each of these hormones, we have C, T, G, G. and my little mnemonic I use to help me recall these hormones is Cutthroat good game. That was a Cutthroat game, but good game anyway, and that's just my silly way to remember these hormones.
Then, moving on to the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland is also located in the brain. Some hormones are released from the anterior pituitary gland and some hormones are released from the posterior pituitary gland.
The hormones released from the anterior pituitary gland include thyroid-stimulating hormone, prolactin, follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, adrenocorticotropic hormone, and growth hormone.
And then the two key hormones released from the posterior pituitary gland include ADH, which is anti-diuretic hormone, and oxytocin.
The way I remember these six key hormones from the anterior pituitary gland is I look at the first letter of each, which is T-P F-L-A-G, which kind of looks like TP FLAG. I think about the anterior pituitary gland surrendering or giving up hormones and flying a white TP flag. That's my little inappropriate potty-humor way of remembering what hormones are released by the anterior pituitary gland.
Moving on to the thyroid gland in the neck. The thyroid gland produces T3, which is triiodothyronine; T4, which is thyroxine; and calcitonin. From now on, I'm going to refer to those as T3 and T4, so I don't have to try to pronounce triiodothyronine anymore.
Then we are going to move on to the parathyroid glands. So we have four parathyroid glands located right next to the thyroid gland, and they produce parathyroid hormone, or PTH.
Then we go down to the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands rest on top of the kidneys. And some hormones are released from the adrenal cortex, which is the outer layer of the adrenal gland, and then some hormones are released from the adrenal medulla, which is the inside of the adrenal gland. So the hormones released by the adrenal cortex include aldosterone, cortisol, and androgens. And then from the adrenal medulla, the hormones produced there include epinephrine and norepinephrine.
Then we have the pancreas, which is situated behind the stomach. The pancreas produces insulin and glucagon.
The testes is another endocrine gland. It produces testosterone.
And then the ovaries produce estrogen and progesterone.
Okay. In our next video, we will get into specific hormones, what their functions are in the body, and what controls release of those hormones. So stay tuned!
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