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Posterior Pituitary
The posterior pituitary is significantly different in structure and
function from the anterior pituitary. As its name implies, the posterior
pituitary is behind the anterior pituitary (toward the back). It contains
mostly axons of secretory neurons and neuroglia cells; the cell bodies of
these neurons are in the hypothalamus. The posterior pituitary and the
infundibulum together are referred to as the neurohypophysis.
The posterior pituitary does not produce hormones, but stores
hormones produced by the hypothalamus and release them into the
bloodstream. The hormones antidiuretic hormone (ADH) and oxytocin
are produced by neurons in the hypothalamus and transported within
these axons along the infundibulum to the posterior pituitary. They are
released into the posterior pituitary capillaries in response to neural
signaling from the hypothalamus. These hormones are considered to be
posterior pituitary hormones, even though they are produced by the
hypothalamus, because that is where they are released into the
circulatory system.