Pineal Gland is an endocrine gland that secretes hormones such as Melatonin, which affects the modulation of sleeping/waiting patterns and the seasonal functions. The gland looks very much like pine cones, which is located near the middle of the brain. Known as the third eye, the pineal gland produces many other hormones as well, such as octopamine, histamine, noradrenaline, vasotocin and a few others. Moreover, this gland affects the reproductive system and when the gland is damaged the accelerated growth of sexual organs occur. Though, to understand this gland completely it is important to understand its functions.
Functions Of This Gland
There are different functions of pineal glands such as
To regulate the functions of the Endocrine system
To secrete the hormone melatonin
Influences sexual development
Conversion the signals of the Nervous system to the signals of Endocrine
The gland comprises of neuroglial cells and the pineal cells. Even in the x-rays, the gland seems calcified due to the deposits of phosphorus, calcium and fluoride that build up with the growing age.
The Human Brain – Pineal Gland
Melatonin: the Hormone of the Pineal Gland
The pineal gland only secretes a single hormone known as melatonin. This is a simple kind of hormone because light dictated its secretion. According to the researchers, this hormone plays two vital roles-
Controlling your circadian rhythm
Regulating particular reproductive hormones
Generally, the melatonin is responsible for many aspects related to sexual development, metabolism, seasonal breeding and hibernation. The gland secretes the hormones along with circadian rhythms and release extra in the dark and fewer in the light. This results in the sexual thoughts when sleeping. The pineal glands in children secrete more melatonin that develops sexual development in them. After the period of puberty, this gland shrinks and release less hormone. Undoubtedly, this hormone has many important effects of integrating photoperiod and affecting the circadian rhythms as well.
Basically, the Circadian rhythm is centrally psychological and co-ordinate behavioral processes genetically programmed to synchronize with day and night. The darkness and the daylight help in dictating your circadian rhythm. The exposure of the light restricts the melatonin release and helps in controlling these rhythms.
The disorder of the Circadian rhythm generally affects the person such as workers who works in the shift and those who are suffering from blindness, jet lag and other health problems or ailments associated with the growing age.
Main Role of Melatonin
The pineal hormone melatonin is generally secreted from the marked circadian rhythm. This happens mostly in the dark segment of the day and the period of the emission imitates the night duration. Though, the main role of the hormone (melatonin) in the rhythms (circadian) is not very much clear. But, exogenous melatonin can point shift and in some of the cases entrain, circadian rhythms in human and rodents.