The glandular tissue are a mixture of both endocrine (ductless, hormones are secreted into the blood) and exocrine (have ducts, hormones are secreted onto surfaces) glands. The exocrine glands are covered in the respective topics. For example sweat glands are covered in the section on skin. This topic mostly focuses on the endocrine glands.


By the time you have finished working your way through this topic, you should know:

  1. The differences between endocrine and exocrine glands.
  2. How to recognise and describe the histological structure of four major endocrine organs: the pituitary gland, the adrenal gland and the thyroid and parathyroid gland.
  3. The different embryological origins of the component parts of the pituitary and adrenal glands and state the significance of this for their structure and function.
  4. The names of the hormones secreted by these three major endocrine glands and their functions.
  5. The involvement of the endocrine system in some common medical conditions.