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Pineal Gland – Definition, Structure, Importance, Functions

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  • Last Updated : 23 Jun, 2022
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Pineal Gland is an important functional gland in human brain. Mostly all vertebrates have a pineal gland. It was the last gland which was discovered. Some believe that it was the “Third Eye” of Human in ancient period. Generally, it moderates its size & transformed to a gland. It has a pine cone like shape. From its shape, it gets the Pineal Gland name. It is situated in the middle of the human brain. In human brain there are two hemispheres. In between this two hemisphere, there are a small space called “epithalamus”. Pineal gland is situated in “epithalamus”. This gland is rich in Calcium. While using X-Ray, calcium acts as radiographer to locate the middle of the brain. The pineal gland produces melatonin hormone. Melatonin hormone regulates the body’s Circadian Rhythm. 

Structure of Pineal Gland

Basically, Pineal gland does not have any higher anatomy. It does not have any layers or more structure. But still there are some functional elements like

  1. Blood Vessels: As Pineal gland is a part of the body, it also possesses blood vessels to make connection with blood-brain barrier system.
  2. Nervous System: Pineal gland receives sympathetic innervation & parasympathetic innervation at a same time for better working purpose.
  3. Cell Composition: Pineal gland is made with pinealocytes cells, Interstitial cells, Perivascular phagocyte cells. This is the micro functional area of Pineal gland. From this cells Melatonin hormones produces.

Importance of Pineal Gland

Pineal gland performed a huge importance in human body. It produces two hormones, which are melatonin and serotonin. So they are called as Pineal Hormone.

Serotonin is used to regulate human life. Serotonin helps human to steadily think & understand certain situation. Serotonin is responsible for conscious behaviors of humans. If serotonin does not produce normally, means if the level of serotonin decreases, then humans started unconscious behaviors. Even they can daydream in absence of serotonin. That is why serotonin is highly important.

Melatonin is another hormone produces from pineal gland. This hormone helps to regulate the body’s Circadian Rhythm & reproductive system.

Function of Pineal Gland/Uses of Pineal Gland

Production of Hormones

Pineal gland produces Melatonin & Serotonin hormones. Melatonin helps to regulate the body’s Circadian Rhythm & reproductive system. Melatonin depends on the light exposed. If secretes most in the dark. In the daylight, Melatonin secretion is the minimum one. Serotonin helps to think consciously.

Regulating Cardiovascular System

Pineal gland has its influence in Cardiovascular system. Heart function & blood flow depends on the Pineal gland.

Influence In Reproduction

The pineal gland regulates the anterior pituitary, from where reproductive hormones are secreted. Pineal gland sometimes inhibit the anterior pituitary to secrete the reproductive hormones. These hormones are responsible for development & functioning of reproductive organs.

Disorder of Pineal Gland

Melatonin & Serotonin are two hormones secretes from Pineal Gland. If any reason these hormones secretes less or much in quantity than normal then it will call as the disorder of Pineal gland. If Serotonin produces less in amount, then unconsciousness will be a symptom. If Melatonin secretes low, then anxiety will be a symptom. Also, low secretion leads to low production of thyroid hormone.  Over secretion of Melatonin also cause some problems. Over secretion of Melatonin can cause low blood pressure, abnormal functioning of thyroid glands and adrenal glands.

Also besides these disorder of Pineal gland may cause other symptom like:

  1. Depression.
  2. Nausea.
  3. Memory disruption.
  4. Disruption in sleep patterns.
  5. Sexual disorders are caused by the misfunctioning of the pineal gland.

Conceptual Questions

Question 1: State the location of Pineal Gland

Answer: 

It is situated in the middle of the human brain. In human brain there are two hemispheres. In between this two hemisphere, there are a small space called “epithalamus”. Pineal gland is situated in “epithalamus”.

Question 2: Why Pineal Gland is known as “Third Eye”?

Answer: 

Pineal Gland is known as the “Third Eye” because like eyes, Pineal Gland also responses when there is an exposure of light. That means working of Pineal Gland depends upon the light & darkness.

Question 3: Why Pineal Gland is rich in calcium level?

Answer:

 Pineal Gland is rich in Calcium. While using X-Ray, calcium acts as radiographer to locate the middle of the brain.

Question 4: How does the sun affect the Pineal Gland?

Answer: 

During the daytime, Pineal Gland secretes less Melatonin. And when there is darkness, it will secrete a high amount of Melatonin. In this way, sun performed a role to activate Pineal Gland.

Question 5: Which food is rich in Melatonin?

Answer: 

Normally, in animal food, fish & egg are rich in Melatonin. And in plant food, nuts & some kinds of mushrooms are rich in Melatonin.

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