The pituitary gland at the midline base of the skull is sometimes called the leader of the endocrine orchestra because it activates several other endocrine glands: the gonads, the thyroid, the suprarenals. Pituitary tumors may cause overproduction of growth hormone, producing acromegaly or giantism. Inadequate production of growth hormone in childhood causes dwarfism. Hypopituitarism may cause diabetes insipidus due to insufficient production of antidiuretic hormone. Various disorders of reproductive activity may be caused by malfunction of follicle-stimulating hormone or lead to lactation of male breasts. Pituitary gland disorders often disrupt other endocrine gland functions. They may be due to genetic anomalies.
Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology.