Hypothalamus and Pituitary gland


  • The hypothalamus is located in the middle of the base of the brain. It is a region of the brain that controls an immense number of bodily functions.

  • The pituitary gland, (hypophysis) is a roundish organ that lies immediately beneath the hypothalamus.

  • Careful examination of the pituitary gland reveals that it composed of two distinctive parts:


The anterior pituitary (adenohypophysis) is a classical gland composed predominantly of cells that secrete protein hormones.

The posterior pituitary (neurohypophysis) is in reality an extension of the hypothalamus. It is composed of axons from the hypothalamus which extend downward behind the anterior pituitary. It also forms the so-called pituitary stalk, which appears to suspend the anterior gland from the hypothalamus.

The anterior and posterior pituitary have separate embryological origins.