Endocrine System Terms

Endocrine Hormones


Hypothalamic Releasing Hormones (RH):

Stimulates the anterior pituitary gland to secrete its hormones

Hypothalamic Inhibiting Hormones (IH):

Inhibits the anterior pituitary gland from secreting its hormones

Posterior Pituitary Gland

Oxytocin (OT):

Stimulates uterine muscle contraction during labor, and promotes milk ejection by mammary glands during lactation in females

Antidiuretic Hormone (ADH):

Stimulates water reabsorption by kidneys, causes vasoconstriction of arterioles, inhibits sweat glands; hyposecretion causes diabetes insipidus

Anterior Pituitary Gland

Growth Hormone (GH):

Stimulates growth and metabolism; hypersecretion causes gigantism in children and acromegaly in adults; hyposecretion causes pituitary dwarfism in children

Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH):

Stimulates the thyroid gland to secrete Thyroid Hormone (TH)

Adrenocorticotropic Hormone (ACTH):

Stimulates the adrenal cortex to secrete its hormones

Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH):

In females, it stimulates maturation of eggs in the ovaries and secretion of estrogens

In males, it stimulates sperm production in the testes

Luteinizing Hormone (LH):

In females, it stimulates ovulation, formation of the corpus luteum, and secretion of progesterone

In males, it stimulates secretion of testosterone by interstitial cells in the testes

In males, LH is often called ICSH (Interstitial Cell Stimulating Hormone)

Prolactin (PRL):

Stimulates milk production (lactation) by mammary glands in females

Thyroid Gland

Thyroid Hormones (TH), including Thyroxine (T4) and Triiodothyronine (T3):

Increases metabolic rate and body temperature, and stimulates protein synthesis; hypersecretion causes Graves' disease; lack of iodine causes goiter

Calcitonin (CT):

Lowers blood calcium level and inhibits bone resorption

Parathyroid Glands

Parathyroid Hormone (PTH):

Raises blood calcium level; increases activity of osteoclasts, increases intestinal absorption of calcium, and promotes kidney reabsorption of calcium and excretion of phosphate; hyposecretion during periods of hypocalcemia may cause tetany, respiratory paralysis, or death

Adrenal Cortex Gland

Aldosterone and other Mineralocorticoids:

Stimulates the kidneys to reabsorb Na+ and excrete K+

Cortisol and other Glucocorticoids:

Increases blood glucose level; stimulates breakdown of protein and fat for energy sources; inhibits inflammatory and immune responses; hypersecretion causes Cushing's disease; hyposecretion causes Addison's disease

Androgens and other Gonadocorticoids:

Contribute to the onset of puberty and development of axillary and pubic hair

Adrenal Medulla Gland

Epinephrine (Epi) and Norepinephrine (NE); also called Adrenaline and Noradrenaline:

Contributes to the fight or flight response; stimulates the heart and lungs, increases blood pressure, increases metabolic rate, and increases blood glucose; hypersecretion may cause nervousness, hypertension, rapid heartbeat and palpitations

Pineal Gland


Helps set the timing of the body's biological clock, and regulates the sleep-wake cycle



Raises blood glucose level; stimulates glycogen breakdown (glycogenolysis), and stimulates formation of new glucose from noncarbohydrates (gluconeogenesis)


Lowers blood glucose level; stimulates glucose uptake by cells, stimulates formation of glycogen (glycogenesis), and stimulates formation of fat (lipogenesis); hyposecretion causes diabetes mellitus

Female Gonads (Ovaries)

Estrogens and progesterone:

Stimulate secondary female sex characteristics, help regulate menstrual cycle, and maintain pregnancy

Male Gonads (Testes)


Stimulate secondary male sex characteristics, and helps regulate sperm production

Thymus Gland

Thymosin, Thymopoietin, and Thymulin ( Serum thymic factor):

Stimulates the differentiation, maturation, and immunocompetence of T cells, and enhances the actions of T-cells and natural killer cells

Nonendocrine Hormones



Stimulates glands in the stomach to increase secretion of hydrochloric acid (HCl).

Small Intestine (duodenum)


Stimulates the secretion of pancreatic juice rich in bicarbonate ions, and stimulates the liver to increase bile output.

Cholecystokinin (CCK):

Stimulates secretion of pancreatic juice rich in digestive enzymes, and stimulates gallbladder contraction to release bile.

Heart (atria)

Atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP):

Reduces blood pressure and blood volume; promotes kidney salt and water excretion by inhibiting release of renin, angiotensin, aldosterone, and antidiuretic hormone.



Enhances erythropoiesis (red blood cell production).


An enzyme that is involved with activating the hormone angiotensin II, which increases blood pressure.

Adipose tissue


Suppresses appetite and increases energy expenditure.