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The Hypothalamus

Hormones secreted by the hypothalamus modulate other hormones. The major hormones secreted by the hypothalamus are corticotrophin releasing hormone (CRH), thyroid stimulating hormone releasing hormone (TRH), follicle stimulating hormone releasing hormone (FSHRH), luteinizing hormone releasing hormone (LRH), and growth hormone releasing hormone (GHRH). CRH targets the adrenal glands. It triggers the adrenals to release adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). ACTH functions to synthesize and release corticosteroids. TRH targets the thyroid where it functions to synthesize and release the thyroid hormones T3 and T4. FSH targets the ovaries and the testes where it enables the maturation of the ovum and of spermatozoa. LRH also targets the ovaries and the testes, and its receptors are in cells which promote ovulation and increase progesterone synthesis and release. GHRH targets the anterior pituitary to release growth hormones to most body tissues, increase protein synthesis, and increase blood glucose. Hence, the hypothalamus plays a first domino role in these cascades of events.

The hypothalamus also secretes some other important hormones such as prolactin inhibiting hormone (PIH), prolactin releasing hormone (PRH), and melanocyte inhibiting hormone (MIH). PIH targets the anterior pituitary to inhibit milk production at the mammary gland, and PRH has the opposite effect. MIH targets skin pigment cells (melanocytes) to regulate pigmentation.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Heterodyne to Hydrazoic acidHormones - Mechanisms Of Action, The Hypothalamus, The Pituitary Gland, The Thyroid Gland, The Parathyroid Glands - Major hormones