Overview of the Endocrine System
The pineal gland is a small mass of tissue near the center of the brain. It secretes the hormone melatonin, which regulates functions related to light and seasons that are marked by changes in daylight. Melatonin affects skin pigmentation, but most pineal gland functions are related to biological rhythms associated with reproduction. Melatonin is secreted at night, with the amount secreted directly related to the length of the night.
- Campbell, N.A., and Reece, J.B. (2002). Biology, 6th Edition. San Francisco, CA: Pearson Benjamin Cummings.
- Clark, Joe O.E. (1999). A Visual Guide to the Human Body. London: Barnes and Noble, Inc.
- SEER Training Modules: Pituitary and Pineal Glands. Illustration courtesy of the National Cancer Institute, NIH.
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