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What does the anterior pituitary gland do?

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Quick Answer

The anterior lobe of the pituitary gland produces six hormones that the body requires for growth, reproduction and regulation, according Emory Healthcare. Pituitary tumors affect one in five individuals. When this gland, that weighs less than a gram, malfunctions, it causes problems with the endocrine system and the neurological system.

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Full Answer

Growth hormone, produced by the anterior pituitary, stimulates linear bone growth in children. In adults, this same hormone helps to maintain the health of bones and other tissues, according to Encyclopaedia Britannica. Thyroid-stimulating hormone causes the thyroid gland to release hormones that control the body's metabolism and maintain body weight.

Follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone both regulate the formation of testosterone and estrogen. These pituitary hormones are essential for the production of sperm in men and eggs in women. Emory Healthcare indicates these hormones ensure the maturation of the egg and its release by the body. Once a baby is born, the pituitary releases prolactin to stimulate the mother's milk production. Males with low prolactin levels often experience sexual dysfunction.

Adrenocorticotropic hormone stimulates the adrenal glands to produce cortisol. Cortisol regulates the blood pressure and the body's response to stress, according to The Hormone Health Network. This hormone also regulates the body's use of proteins, carbohydrates and fats.

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