Adrenal Glands

Adrenal Glands

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Adrenal Glands: Production of Important Hormones

What they are and location

The adrenals, also known as adrenals, are two endocrine glands in the human body. They are located above the kidneys.

Members of the endocrine system, the adrenal glands are very important to the human body because they make hormones essential for their functioning.

Main characteristics and hormones produced:

- The right adrenal gland has a triangular shape, while the left has a half-moon shape.

- There are two regions in the adrenal glands. The external adrenal cortex (about 85% of the gland) and the adrenal medulla (internal).

- These glands in the adrenal cortex make steroid hormones that regulate the concentration of water and salts in the body (mineral homeostasis).

- They are also responsible for the production of hormones that act in the transformation of fat in glucose by the liver. An example of this hormone is glucocorticoid known as cortisol, which also acts on the degradation of triglycerides. These functions are also performed by the region of the adrenal cortex.

- The adrenal glands also produce in the adrenal medulla two other important hormones: adrenaline (also known as epinephrine) and norepinephrine (also known as norepinephrine). These two hormones act on psychic and physical reactions generated by strong emotional situations (mainly related to emotional stress).

Last reviewed: 12/19/2018

By Elaine Barbosa de Souza
Undergraduate student in Biological Sciences, Methodist University of São Paulo.