(Latin: phlegm, rheum)
Borrowed from New Latin pituitarius, from Latin pituitarius, "mucous"; relating to phlegm, from pituita, "phlegm, mucus".
The name for the gland in the brain was adopted from the Latin word for phlegm or mucus, because it was believed in the 1500's and 1600's that the pituitary gland channeled mucus to the nose.
The main endocrine gland
It is a small structure in the head called the master gland because it produces hormones that control other glands and many body functions including growth. The pituitary consists of the anterior and posterior pituitary.
The anterior pituitary is the front portion of the pituitary where hormones secreted by it influence growth, sexual development, skin pigmentation, thyroid function, and adrenocortical function.
These influences are exerted through the effects of pituitary hormones on other endocrine glands except for growth hormone which acts directly on cells.
The effects of under function of the anterior pituitary include growth retardation (dwarfism) in childhood and a decrease in all other endocrine gland functions normally under the control of the anterior pituitary; except the parathyroid glands.
The results of over function of the anterior pituitary include overgrowth (gigantism) in children and a condition called acromegaly in adults.
The posterior pituitary is the back portion of the pituitary which secretes the hormone oxytocin which increases uterine contractions and antidiuretic hormone (ADH) which increases re-absorption of water by the tubules of the kidney.
Underproduction of ADH results in a disorder called diabetes insipidus characterized by the inability to concentrate the urine and, consequently, excess urination leading potentially to dehydration. The urine is "insipid"; that is, overly dilute.
Mucus is the free slime of the mucous membranes, composed of secretion of the glands, along with various inorganic salts, desquamated cells and leucocytes.
Phlegm is viscid mucus secreted in abnormal quantity in the respiratory and digestive passages.
2. Relating to pituita.