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Hormones and the Endocrine System

The endocrine system uses hormones to control and coordinate your body's internal metabolism (or homeostasis) energy level, reproduction, growth and development, and response to injury, stress, and environmental factors. Consider the following hormones and their role in the workings of the endocrine system:

Where the hormone is produced

Hormone(s) secreted

Hormone function

Adrenal glands


Regulates salt, water balance, and blood pressure

Adrenal glands


Controls key functions in the body; acts as an anti-inflammatory; maintains blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and muscle strength; regulates salt and water balance

Pituitary gland

Antidiuretic hormone (vasopressin)

Affects water retention in kidneys; controls blood pressure

Pituitary gland

Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)

Controls production of sex hormones (estrogen in women and testosterone in men) and the production of eggs in women and sperm in men.

Pituitary gland

Growth hormone (GH)

Affects growth and development; stimulates protein production; affects fat distribution

Pituitary gland

Luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)

Controls production of sex hormones (estrogen in women and testosterone in men) and the production of eggs in women and sperm in men

Pituitary gland


Stimulates contraction of uterus and milk ducts in the breast

Pituitary gland


Initiates and maintains milk production in breasts; impacts sex hormone levels

Pituitary gland

Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH)

Stimulates the production and secretion of thyroid hormones


Renin and angiotensin

Controls blood pressure, both directly and also by regulating aldosterone production from the adrenal glands



Affects red blood cell (RBC) production



Raises blood sugar levels



Lowers blood sugar levels; stimulates metabolism of glucose, protein, and fat



Affects development of female sexual characteristics and reproductive development, important for functioning of uterus and breasts; also protects bone health



Stimulates the lining of the uterus for fertilization; prepares the breasts for milk production

Parathyroid glands

Parathyroid hormone (PTH)

Most important regulator of blood calcium levels

Thyroid gland

Thyroid hormone

Controls metabolism; also affects growth, maturation, nervous system activity, and metabolism

Adrenal glands


Increases heart rate, oxygen intake, and blood flow

Adrenal glands


Maintains blood pressure

Testes (testicles)


Develop and maintain male sexual characteristics and maturation

Pineal gland


Releases melatonin during night hours to help with sleep


Growth hormone releasing hormone (GHRH)

Regulates growth hormone release in the pituitary gland


Thyrotropin releasing hormone (TRH)

Regulates thyroid stimulating hormone release in the pituitary gland


Gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH)

Regulates LH/FSH production in the pituitary gland


Corticotropin releasing hormone (CRH)

Regulates adrenocorticotropin release in the pituitary gland


Humoral factors

Helps develop the lymphoid system

Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Online Medical Reviewer: Turley, Ray, BSN, MSN
Date Last Reviewed: 8/19/2014
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