About the Adrenal Glands
|The adrenal glands are small, triangle-shaped glands located on top of both
kidneys. Each adrenal gland is made up of two parts: an outer
the adrenal cortex and an inner region called the adrenal medulla.
The adrenal glands interact with the hypothalamus and pituitary gland:
hypothalamus secretes corticotropin-releasing
hormone, which stimulates the pituitary gland.
- The pituitary gland then secretes
adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), which
stimulates the adrenal glands
to produce corticosteroid hormones.
What is the adrenal cortex?
The adrenal cortex, the outer portion of the adrenal gland, is
essential for life. It releases hormones that: help the body deal with
stress; control the body's use of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates;
control blood pressure; and, affect sexual development and reproduction.
The hormones produced by the adrenal cortex include:
- Corticosteroid hormones
(hydrocortisone or cortisol)
These hormones help control the body's use of
fats, proteins, and carbohydrates, suppress inflammation in the
body, and affect the function of the immune
This hormone helps regulate the amount of sodium
excreted into the urine, which
helps the body maintain blood volume and blood
- Androgenic steroids
These hormones have an effect
on the development of male sexual characteristics.
What is the adrenal medulla?
The adrenal medulla, the inner part of the adrenal gland, helps
a person cope with physical and emotional stress.
The hormones produced by the adrenal medulla include:
- Epinephrine (also called
This hormone helps the body react to stress by
increasing the heart rate and force of heart contractions, diverting
blood flow to the muscles and brain, increasing
the amount of glucose in the blood (for
energy), and other activities.
(also called noradrenaline)
This hormone has strong vasoconstrictive
effects (narrowing of the blood vessels), which increases blood pressure.
more about the adrenal glands, select from the
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OF THE ADRENAL GLANDS
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Last modified on: 30 June 2015