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ACTH

gland adrenal hormone pituitary

ACTH (adrenocorticotrophic hormone), or corticotropin, hormone produced by the pituitary gland that stimulates the cortex of the adrenal gland to produce corticosteroids, which regulate many biochemical reactions in the body. Too much ACTH induces growth of the adrenal glands and provokes increased secretion of hydrocortisone. Lack of ACTH gives rise to a wasting away of the adrenal cortex; skin pigmentation is reduced, and the function of other endocrine glands, such as the thyroid, testes, and ovaries, is inhibited. The secretion of ACTH is largely controlled by the release of chemicals to the pituitary gland by the brain.

See also: Gland; Hormone.

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