As part of the endocrine system that regulates hormones, the pituitary gland controls many of the other glands through secretion. Our "master gland," the pituitary makes some hormones, but also acts as an intermediary between the brain and other endocrine glands. Our hormones and the pituitary accomplish many homeostatic and specialized functions, like bone growth and uterine contractions.
Neurons carry messages regarding the production of hormones between the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus. Both are located at the base of the brain, nestled in a rounded part of bone, carefully protected. They are connected by a bunch of neurons called the infundibulum. Together, they work to regulate all the hormones that circulate in the bloodstream, controlling things like growth and hair pigmentation. Hormones are the long-distance messangers that can inform cells when to become active or stay dormant. The pituitary controls the thyroid, adrenal glands, ovaries and testes, even though it's only the size of a pea.
There are different parts of the pituitary gland that have selective functions. The posterior lobe, called the neurohypophysis, releases the hormones vasopressin and oxytocin, but doesn't produce them. Vasopressin is an anti-diuretic that controls how the kidneys absorb water. Oxytocin is a special hormone only present during childbirth to speed contractions.
The anterior lobe of the pituitary gland is called the adenohypophysis. It produces a variety of hormones, such as prolactin that stimulates lactation in women. Melanocyte spurs the body to produce melanin for skin and hair pigmentation. Follicle-stimulating hormone indicates where and when hair should grow during development. The very important growth hormone controls bone growth to determine height, especially active during adolescence. Hormones control glands as well. The thyroid reacts to thyrotropin, the adrenal glands are stimulated by adrenocorticotropin, and the sex glands are affected by luteinizing hormone. The pituitary gland is responsible for many stages and aspects of our maturation.