The thyroid gland or simply, the thyroid /ˈθaɪərɔɪd/, in vertebrate anatomy, is one of the largest endocrine glands. The thyroid gland is found in the neck, below the thyroid cartilage (which forms the laryngeal prominence, or "Adam's apple"). The isthmus (the bridge between the two lobes of the thyroid) is located inferior to the cricoid cartilage.
The thyroid gland controls how quickly the body uses energy, makes proteins, and controls how sensitive the body is to other hormones. It participates in these processes by producing thyroid hormones, the principal ones being triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine which can sometimes be referred to as tetraiodothyronine (T4). These hormones regulate the rate of metabolism and affect the growth and rate of function of many other systems in the body. T3 and T4 are synthesized from both iodine and tyrosine. The thyroid also produces calcitonin, which plays a role in calcium homeostasis.
Hormonal output from the thyroid is regulated by thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) produced by the anterior pituitary, which itself is regulated by thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) produced by the hypothalamus.
The thyroid gets its name from the Greek word for "shield", due to the shape of the related thyroid cartilage. The most common problems of the thyroid gland consist of an overactive thyroid gland, referred to as hyperthyroidism, and an underactive thyroid gland, referred to as hypothyroidism.
Famous quotes containing the word thyroid:
“Hes got a fifteen percent metabolism with an overactive thyroid and a glandular affectation of about three percent. With a one percent mentality. Hes what we designate as the Crummy Moronic type.”
—Robert Pirosh, U.S. screenwriter, George Seaton, George Oppenheimer, and Sam Wood. Dr. Hugo Z. Hackenbush (Groucho Marx)