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Anterior Pituitary Gland vs. Posterior Pituitary Gland — What's the Difference?

Edited by Tayyaba Rehman — By Fiza Rafique — Published on December 5, 2023
The Anterior Pituitary Gland produces and releases hormones, while the Posterior Pituitary Gland stores and releases hormones produced by the hypothalamus. Both are vital parts of the endocrine system.
Anterior Pituitary Gland vs. Posterior Pituitary Gland — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Anterior Pituitary Gland and Posterior Pituitary Gland

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Key Differences

The pituitary gland, a pea-sized organ situated at the base of the brain, is segmented into two distinct parts: the Anterior Pituitary Gland and the Posterior Pituitary Gland. These segments, although closely related, serve diverse functions in hormone regulation and release.
Fiza Rafique
Dec 05, 2023
The Anterior Pituitary Gland, also known as the adenohypophysis, is mainly involved in the synthesis and secretion of several hormones. Some of these include growth hormone, thyroid-stimulating hormone, and adrenocorticotropic hormone. On the other hand, the Posterior Pituitary Gland, or neurohypophysis, does not synthesize its hormones. Instead, it stores and releases hormones like oxytocin and vasopressin, which are produced by the hypothalamus.
Fiza Rafique
Dec 05, 2023
Structurally, the Anterior Pituitary Gland is glandular, arising from embryonic tissue. This enables it to produce hormones. The Posterior Pituitary Gland, conversely, is neural in origin, and serves as an extension of the hypothalamus, thus its primary function revolves around the storage and release of hormones.
Fiza Rafique
Dec 05, 2023
Functionally, the Anterior Pituitary Gland responds to releasing or inhibiting signals from the hypothalamus. Depending on these signals, it can either release or halt the production of specific hormones. The Posterior Pituitary Gland, meanwhile, acts more as a conduit, directly releasing hormones when signaled by nerve impulses from the hypothalamus.
Fiza Rafique
Dec 05, 2023
Both the Anterior Pituitary Gland and the Posterior Pituitary Gland play pivotal roles in maintaining body homeostasis. They regulate various physiological processes, from growth and metabolism to water balance and childbirth, highlighting their importance in the endocrine system.
Fiza Rafique
Dec 05, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Hormone Production

Produces and releases hormones.
Stores and releases, but doesn't produce.
Fiza Rafique
Dec 05, 2023

Origin

Glandular (embryonic tissue).
Neural (extension of hypothalamus).
Fiza Rafique
Dec 05, 2023

Hormones Associated

Growth hormone, TSH, ACTH, etc.
Oxytocin, vasopressin.
Fiza Rafique
Dec 05, 2023

Response Mechanism

Responds to releasing/inhibiting signals.
Releases hormones via nerve impulses.
Fiza Rafique
Dec 05, 2023

Primary Function

Hormone synthesis and release.
Hormone storage and release.
Fiza Rafique
Dec 05, 2023

Compare with Definitions

Anterior Pituitary Gland

Segment of the pituitary involved in growth, metabolism, and stress.
Disorders of the Anterior Pituitary Gland can impact overall health and development.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 17, 2023

Posterior Pituitary Gland

Also known as the neurohypophysis.
The Posterior Pituitary Gland acts as a conduit for hormones traveling from the hypothalamus.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 17, 2023

Anterior Pituitary Gland

The glandular front portion of the pituitary gland.
The Anterior Pituitary Gland secretes several key hormones essential for body growth.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 17, 2023

Posterior Pituitary Gland

Section of the pituitary associated with water balance and childbirth.
A dysfunction in the Posterior Pituitary Gland can result in hydration issues.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 17, 2023

Anterior Pituitary Gland

The hormone-producing section of the pituitary.
Regulation of metabolism is influenced by hormones from the Anterior Pituitary Gland.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 17, 2023

Posterior Pituitary Gland

Stores and releases hormones made by the hypothalamus.
Vasopressin, important for water balance, is released by the Posterior Pituitary Gland.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 17, 2023

Anterior Pituitary Gland

The adenohypophysis responsible for synthesizing hormones.
The Anterior Pituitary Gland releases ACTH, influencing adrenal gland function.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 17, 2023

Posterior Pituitary Gland

Releases hormones in response to neural signals.
Blood pressure regulation involves hormones from the Posterior Pituitary Gland.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 17, 2023

Anterior Pituitary Gland

Responds to signals from the hypothalamus to regulate hormones.
Thyroid function is controlled in part by the Anterior Pituitary Gland.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 17, 2023

Posterior Pituitary Gland

The neural rear section of the pituitary gland.
The Posterior Pituitary Gland releases oxytocin during childbirth.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 17, 2023

Common Curiosities

What is the function of these hormones?

These hormones regulate growth, thyroid function, adrenal gland function, reproduction, and milk production.
Fiza Rafique
Dec 05, 2023

What are some disorders associated with the anterior pituitary gland?

Disorders include acromegaly, Cushing's disease, prolactinoma, and hypopituitarism.
Fiza Rafique
Dec 05, 2023

What is the posterior pituitary gland?

The posterior pituitary gland, also known as the neurohypophysis, is the rear part of the pituitary gland.
Fiza Rafique
Dec 05, 2023

How is the posterior pituitary gland regulated?

It releases hormones in response to nerve signals from the hypothalamus.
Fiza Rafique
Dec 05, 2023

What is the anterior pituitary gland?

The anterior pituitary gland, also known as the adenohypophysis, is the front part of the pituitary gland, a small gland located at the base of the brain.
Fiza Rafique
Dec 05, 2023

What are the functions of oxytocin and vasopressin?

Oxytocin stimulates uterine contractions during childbirth and milk ejection during breastfeeding. Vasopressin regulates water balance by affecting kidney function.
Fiza Rafique
Dec 05, 2023

Which hormones are stored and released by the posterior pituitary gland?

The posterior pituitary stores and releases two hormones: oxytocin and vasopressin (also called antidiuretic hormone or ADH).
Fiza Rafique
Dec 05, 2023

Can the posterior pituitary gland produce hormones?

No, it does not produce hormones. It only stores and releases hormones that are produced in the hypothalamus.
Fiza Rafique
Dec 05, 2023

What hormones does the anterior pituitary gland produce?

It produces several hormones including growth hormone (GH), thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), prolactin (PRL), luteinizing hormone (LH), and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH).
Fiza Rafique
Dec 05, 2023

How is the anterior pituitary gland regulated?

Its secretion is primarily regulated by releasing and inhibiting hormones from the hypothalamus.
Fiza Rafique
Dec 05, 2023

Why is the pituitary gland often called the "master gland"?

Because it regulates the function of many other endocrine glands in the body.
Fiza Rafique
Dec 05, 2023

Where is the pituitary gland located?

The pituitary gland is located at the base of the brain, just beneath the hypothalamus.
Fiza Rafique
Dec 05, 2023

What controls the pituitary gland?

The pituitary gland is controlled by the hypothalamus, a region of the brain directly above it.
Fiza Rafique
Dec 05, 2023

What happens if the pituitary gland doesn't function properly?

Malfunction can lead to a variety of disorders ranging from growth abnormalities to hormonal imbalances, which can impact various bodily functions.
Fiza Rafique
Dec 05, 2023

How big is the pituitary gland?

The pituitary gland is about the size of a pea, measuring around 0.5 inches (1.3 cm) in diameter.
Fiza Rafique
Dec 05, 2023

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at AskDifference.com, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to askdifference.com. As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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