Anatomy & Physiology Endocrine #8


Which structure is considered a “master gland” of the endocrine system?


  1. Pancreas
    • Rationale:

      The pancreas secretes insulin and glucagon among other hormones to regulate serum glucose. This gland is not referred to as a master gland of the endocrine system.

  2. Adrenals
    • Rationale:

      The adrenal glands lie in the abdominal cavity above the diaphragm and just above each kidney. These glands secrete several hormones from their cortices and its medullas; however, these glands are not referred to as “master glands.”

  3. Parathyroid
    • Rationale:

      The parathyroid glands (four) lie on either side of the thyroid gland in the neck. These glands control the amount of circulating calcium and phosphorus within the body; however, these glands are not referred to as “master glands.”

  4. Hypothalamus
    • Rationale:

      The hypothalamus is an endocrine gland that is housed near the base of the skull just above the pituitary gland. Because it performs several roles, this gland is one of the “master glands” of the endocrine system.


The endocrine system is the collection of glands. These glands produce hormones that regulate many functions within the body.


Learning Outcomes

Specific functions that are regulated by endocrine glands include, but are not limited to, growth and development, metabolism, mood, reproduction, sexual function, sleep, and tissue function. There are nine glands within the endocrine system. There are two of these glands that are considered “master glands,” the hypothalamus and the thyroid. These glands are considered master glands because they have control over the other glands within the endocrine system.

Test Taking Tip

Consider the structure and function of each endocrine gland to answer this question correctly.

Video Rationale