The pituitary gland is often portrayed as the "master gland" of the body. Such praise is justified in the sense that the anterior and posterior pituitary secrete a battery of hormones that collectively influence all cells and affect virtually all physiologic processes.
The pituitary gland may be king, but the power behind the throne is clearly the hypothalamus. As alluded to in the last section, some of the neurons within the hypothalamus - neurosecretory neurons - secrete hormones that strictly control secretion of hormones from the anterior pituitary. The hypothalamic hormones are referred to as releasing hormones and inhibiting hormones, reflecting their influence on anterior pituitary hormones.