Lynn, W. Gardner Department of Biology, Catholic University of America, Washington, DC.
Burrow, Gerard N. School of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, California.
Woeber, Kenneth A. Department of Medicine, Mount Zion Hospital and Medical Center, San Francisco, California.
Li, Choh Hao Laboratory of Molecular Endocrinology, University of California, San Francisco, California.
Last reviewed:February 2021
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- Embryonic origin
- Development, differentiation, and morphogenesis
- Regulation of thyroid function
- Physiological actions
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
An endocrine gland found in all vertebrates that produces, stores, and secretes the thyroid hormones. The primary function of the thyroid gland, in warm-blooded vertebrates at least, is to regulate the rate of metabolism. In humans, the gland is located in front of, and on either side of, the trachea (Fig. 1). Calcitonin (thyrocalcitonin), a hormone of the thyroid gland, assists in regulating serum calcium by reducing its levels. The thyroid gland is capable of accumulating inorganic iodides and uniting them with the amino acid tyrosine to produce iodinated proteins. This activity is regulated by thyrotropic hormone from the anterior lobe of the pituitary gland. A main site of action of the thyroid may occur in the mitochondria, where energy-rich phosphate bonds are formed. See also: Calcitonin; Endocrine mechanisms; Endocrine system (vertebrate); Endocrinology; Gland; Iodine; Metabolism; Mitochondria; Pituitary gland; Thyroid hormones; Vertebrata
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