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Anterior Pituitary Gland Removal & Hormones

The hormones needed by an adult whose anterior pituitary gland has been removed are growth hormone (GH), adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH), which is called interstitial cell-stimulating hormone (ICSH) in the male (Applegate, 2000, 209).

If the patient does not have replacement for TSH, the thyroid gland will not be stimulated to produce thyroid hormones (Hypothyroidism, 2002). Thyroid hormones are produced by the thyroid gland and affects growth, development, and cellular processes. The thyroid gland uses iodine to produce thyroid hormones, the most important ones being thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), which make up 99.9 percent and 0.1 percent of thyroid hormones in the blood, respectively. The hormone with the most biological activity is T3, and most T4 released from the thyroid gland into the bloodstream is converted to T3, the active hormone which affects metabolism.

The thyroid gland is regulated by TSH from the anterior pituitary gland (Hypothyroidism, 2002). The hypothalamus releases a hormone called thyrotropin releasing hormone (TRH) which acts on the anterior pituitary and causes it to release TSH, which signals the thyroid to release thyroid hormones. The system works on a feedback loop controlled by the level of thyroid hormones in the bloodstream. If thyroid hormone levels in the blood drop, the anterior pituitary gland secretes more TSH; if the blood levels of thyroid hormones rise, the production of TSH by the anterior pituitary is turned off. The major effect from removal of the anterior pituitary gland, and therefore loss of TSH, would be on the metabolic system, causing a slow down of metabolism resulting in: weight gain, constipation, lethargy, dry skin and hair, intolerance to cold, depression, excessive sleepiness, muscle cramps, raised cholesterol levels, decreased concentration, and swel...

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