Pineal Gland: The pineal gland, also known as the epiphysis cerebri, epiphysis or third eye is a small endocrine gland in the brain. The pineal gland produces melatonin, a serotonin-derived hormone that changes sleep patterns in both circadian and the periodical cycles. The pineal gland further performs a function in the regulation of female hormone levels, and it may influence fertility and the menstrual cycle.
The pineal gland is placed in the epithalamus, near the middle of the brain, within the two hemispheres, tucked in a groove wherever the two halves of the thalamus attached.
In the epithalamus of some varieties of amphibians and reptiles, it is associated with a light-sensing organ, identified as the parietal eye, which is further described the pineal eye or third eye.
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Pineal Gland Anatomy
The pineal gland is a pine-cone shape located midline the brain structure that is unpaired and lies between the laterally positioned thalamic bodies and behind the habenular commissure. The pineal gland is placed in the quadrigeminal cistern adjacent to the corpora quadrigemina. It is also found behind the third ventricle and is immersed in cerebrospinal fluid supplied within a small pineal recess of the third ventricle which projects into the stalk of the gland.
The pineal gland is reddish-gray and regarding the size of a grain of rice (5–8 mm) in humans brain.
Blood Supply of the Pineal Gland
The pineal gland is not separated from the body by the blood-brain barrier system, it becomes profuse blood flow, satisfied from the choroidal branches of the posterior cerebral artery.
Nerve supply of the Pineal Gland
The pineal gland gets a sympathetic innervation from the superior cervical ganglion and the parasympathetic innervation from the pterygopalatine and otic ganglia. Some nerve fibers enter into the pineal gland via the pineal stalk. Moreover, neurons in the trigeminal ganglion innervate the gland among nerve fibers containing the neuropeptide PACAP.
Pineal Gland Function
The principal function of the pineal gland is to generate melatonin. Melatonin has numerous functions in the central nervous system, the various important of which is to help accentuate sleep patterns. Melatonin formation is aroused by darkness and repressed by light. Light-sensitive nerve cells in the retina recognize light and transmit this signal to the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), synchronizing the SCN to the day-night cycle.
Regulation of the pituitary gland
The pineal gland regulates the pituitary gland's secretion of the sex hormones, luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH).
The pineal gland may influence the actions of recreational drugs, such as cocaine, and antidepressants, such as fluoxetine, that its hormone melatonin can protect against neurodegeneration.
The pineal-derived melatonin which regulates new bone deposition. Pineal-derived melatonin interferes with its action on the bone cells through MT2 receptors. This pathway could be a possible new target for osteoporosis remedy as the study shows the curative effect of oral melatonin treatment in a postmenopausal osteoporosis mouse model.
Stabilization of Mood
The size of the pineal gland may show the jeopardy for certain mood disorders. One research implies that a moderate pineal gland volume may raise the chance of evolving schizophrenia and other mood complications.
Cancer & Pineal Gland
Some study implies that there may be a link among impaired pineal gland function and cancer risk. A recent study on rats showed the indication that lowering pineal gland function through overexposure to light led to cellular degeneration and raised risk for colon cancer.
Cardiovascular Health & Pineal Gland
Studies discovered proof that melatonin generated by the pineal gland can enhance a positive influence on the heart and the blood pressure. They assumed that melatonin may be utilized to treat cardiovascular disease, though more research is required.
Female Hormones & Pineal Gland
In the case of the female hormone, there’s some evidence that reduced amounts of melatonin may perform a role in the development of irregular menstrual cycles.