Adrenal Glands : Location, Structure and Functions

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Functions of Adrenal Gland

Adrenal Glands on Kidney

Location of the Adrenal Glands:

Adrenal glands are triangular glands that are located on the top of both kidneys. They rest like skull caps on the kidneys, secreting different hormones and have different functions.

Parts and Functions of the Adrenal Gland and their Hormones

1. Adrenal Medulla

The central internal portion of the adrenal gland is known as adrenal medulla.

Adrenaline:

Adrenal Gland secretes a very important hormone named as adrenaline or epinephrine.

Functions of Adrenaline:

  • Adrenaline hormone is released into the blood stream instantaneously when we face sudden events.
  • Adrenaline stimulates our body to a whole array of alarm reactions.
  • Adrenaline accelerates the conversion of stored foods into quick energy
  • Adrenaline raises the blood pressure, breathing is fastened, pupils of the eyes are dilated for more sensitive vision, blood vessels are constricted and makes them less vulnerable to bleeding.
  • Adrenaline is known as fight or flight hormone. It is a good example of interdependence of endocrine system.
  • Adrenaline is an important agent in the RAA pathway in regulating the blood pressure. RAA pathway means Rennin Adrenaline Angiotensin pathway. When adrenaline is released, it stimulates the secretion of ACTH by the pituitary gland. This ACTH in turn causes the adrenal cortex to accelerate the production of its hormones.
  • These hormones are essential in converting the energy sources when energy is required in emergency conditions.

2. Adrenal Cortex

Adrenal cortex is the outer layer of the adrenal gland and it secretes about 30 different hormones called as corticoids.

The Corticoids:

Some of these corticoids influence the male and female characteristics by supplementing the hormones produced in the gonads.

Some other hormones fall into 2 general categories, which affect the body’s metabolism, the other which regulate the blood composition and internal fluids.

Without these hormones, the kidneys will not be able to maintain the water-salt balance, which is essential for maintaining the suitable environment for our cells and tissues.

The corticoids also influence the antibodies formation against the bacteria, viruses and other disease causing agents. Some extracts and laboratory preparations were prepared and they are used for reducing pain, especially at the joints and for healing the skin inflammations.

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