Merck Manual

Please confirm that you are not located inside the Russian Federation

honeypot link
Pituitary: The Master Gland

Pituitary: The Master Gland

The pituitary, a pea-sized gland at the base of the brain, produces a number of hormones. Each of these hormones affects a specific part of the body (a target organ or tissue). Because the pituitary controls the function of most other endocrine glands, it is often called the master gland.

Hormone

Target Organ or Tissue

Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)

Adrenal glands

Beta-melanocyte–stimulating hormone

Skin

Endorphins

Brain and immune system

Enkephalins

Brain

Follicle-stimulating hormone

Ovaries or testes

Growth hormone

Muscles and bones

Luteinizing hormone

Ovaries or testes

Oxytocin*

Uterus and mammary glands

Prolactin

Mammary glands

Thyroid-stimulating hormone

Thyroid gland

Vasopressin (antidiuretic hormone)*

Kidneys

Locating the Pituitary Gland

* These hormones are produced in the hypothalamus but are stored in and released from the pituitary.