The pituitary gland, often referred to as the master gland, controls the function of multiple endocrine glands. It can be damaged by trauma, internal insult (loss of blood flow), and external insult such as radiation therapy. Hypopituitarism is defined as either partial or complete deficiency of anterior or posterior pituitary hormone secretion. Hormones secreted by the pituitary gland include growth hormone (GH); thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH); the gonadotropins luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH); prolactin (PRL); adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH); oxytocin; and vasopressin (antidiuretic hormone). Evaluation of pituitary function and determination of the site of pathology often require testing of hormones released as well as end products.

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Content Review: 
September 2017

Last Update: November 2019