Diagram of the Human Endocrine Glands
Location of the Human Endocrine Glands

The thyroid gland is an important endocrine gland in the human body.
Endocrine glands differ from "exocrine" glands in that exocrine glands have ducts (so may be referred to as "ducted") whereas endocrine glands do not have ducts (and so may be referred to as "ductless").

The thyroid gland is located at the base of the neck, below the hyoid bone. It is primarily concerned with regulating the body's metabolic rate - which it does by secreting appropriate amounts of thyroid hormones.

Hormones secreted by the thyroid gland include:

  • Thyroid Hormone (there are two thyroid hormones, Triiodothyronine and Thyroxin)
  • Calcitonin

The structure of the thyroid gland consists of two lobes. One lobe is positioned on each side of the trachea and they are joined by the isthmus in the centre. Internally, the thyroid gland consists of many cubic epithelial cells that form cavities called "follicles". These contain a jelly-like colloid (an iodate protein).

For a diagram indicating the locations within the body of each of the endocrine glands, see Endocrine Glands of the Human Body.

This may be of interest to students of courses in massage, reflexology, beauty therapies, and other first-level therapy or other health-related courses.

More about the Endocrine System

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