15 Secreting Organs in Human Body | Their List Locations & Functions

There are many secretory organs in the human body. This includes

Endocrine glands

  1. Hypothalamus
  2. Pituitary gland
  3. Thyroid
  4. Parathyroid
  5. adrenal gland,
  6. Pineal gland
  7. Thymus gland.

Exocrine glands

  1. Salivary glands,
  2. lachrymal,
  3. ceruminous glands, and
  4. sweat glands,
  5. mammary glands.
  • Other glands: Prostrate gland.
  • Liver
  • Pancreas
  • Stomach
  • Kidney

All the above organs secrete essential substances that help in the normal body physiology.

List of Secreting Organs in detail

As seen in the list above, most of them are glands in the body.

Hypothalamus & Pituitary gland

  • The pituitary gland is attached below the hypothalamus.
  • The hypothalamus and pituitary act as a unit and secrete hormones that regulate other glands and secretions.
Secreting Organs in human body

Anatomically, the pituitary gland can be divided into two lobes as the

  1. Anterior pituitary lobe
  2. Posterior pituitary lobe

Anterior and posterior pituitary lobes secrete different hormones along with the hypothalamus, as shown in the table below.

HypothalamusAnterior pituitaryPosterior pituitary
Growth hormone-releasing hormoneGrowth hormoneOxytocin
Growth hormone release inhibiting hormoneThyroid-stimulating hormoneVasopression or antidiuretic hormone
Thyrotrophin releasing hormoneAdrenocorticotrophic hormone
Corticotrophin releasing hormoneprolactin
Prolactin releasing hormoneFollicle-stimulating hormone
Prolactin inhibiting hormoneLuteinizing hormone.
Luteinising hormone-releasing hormone

Thyroid

  • The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the throat region of the larynx and trachea.
  • It secretes hormones T3, T4 and calcitonin. 

Parathyroid

  • These are small glands located on the posterior side of the thyroid gland.

Adrenal gland

These are a pair of glands, each located on the surface of a kidney. They have two portions as

  1. Cortex and
  2. Medulla.
  • The adrenal cortex secretes steroidal hormones like glucocorticoids and mineralocorticoids which help in body metabolism and maintenance of electrolyte levels.
  • The adrenal medulla secretes adrenalin or epinephrine, which helps acts as a flight or fight hormone.

Pineal gland

  • This gland is located in the brain and secretes the hormone melatonin, which influences sleep, body growth, and repair.

Thymus gland

  • This gland is located in the upper portion of the sternum.
  • It secretes the hormone thymosin that helps in the development of T-lymphocytes.

Salivary glands 

  • These glands are located in the facial region and the buccal cavity.
  • They synthesize and secrete saliva into the mouth, which helps in chewing the food, swallowing, and digestion. 

There are three pairs of salivary glands, and many small glands are located on the floor of the mouth.

Lachrymal glands

  • These glands are located in the eye sockets.
  • They secrete tears to keep the eyes clean and moist. 

Ceruminous glands.

  • These glands secrete ear wax that helps to protect the eardrum.

Sweat glands

  • These are located in the skin and are concentrated in the region like armpits, palms, and soles.
  • They help to regulate the excess body temperature by expelling sweat.
  • This sweat consists of water, urea, and salts.

Mammary glands

  • These are modified sweat glands present in the female.
  • They help in the production of milk for the nourishment of babies.

Prostate gland

  • This gland is part of the male reproductive system.
  • It is present in the pelvic cavity surrounding the urethra.
  • It produces a thin milky fluid that forms part of seminal fluid. 

Stomach

  • This is a hollow secreting organ located in the abdominal cavity.
  • It secretes gastric juice from its gastric glands in the mucous layer.
  • This gastric juice also contains hydrochloric acid.
  • This juice helps in the digestion of food, kills microbes, and liquefy the food.

Liver

  • The liver is the organ located in the abdominal cavity above the stomach.
  • It secretes bile juice which helps in the digestion process.
  • It even produces plasma proteins like albumin globulin and lipoproteins like HDL, LDL, VLDL, etc.
  • The glycogen stored in the liver is also broken down and hence blood sugar is also released from the liver.

Pancreas

  • This is both an exocrine and endocrine gland.
  • The pancreas secretes digestive juice into the intestine from its exocrine portion.
  • It consists of pancreatic amylase, lipase, nucleases, trypsinogen, chymotrypsinogen.
  • These help in the digestion of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and nucleic acids.
  • The endocrine part secretes hormones like insulin, glucagon which regulate blood sugar levels.
  • The pancreatic juice also has bicarbonate ions which help in neutralizing the acidic chyme from the stomach.

Kidney

  • It is an organ of excretion. But it also secretes an enzyme named Renin.
  • This renin is secreted when the blood pressure is low. This helps to maintain blood pressure.

Frequently asked questions and answers

What are the secretory organs in the neck?

These include thyroid glands, parathyroid glands.

What are the secretory organs in the brain?

The organs are the hypothalamus, pituitary, and pineal gland.

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