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|Endocrine system. (Parathyroid gland not pictured, but are present on surface of thyroid gland, as shown below.)|
|Latin||glandula parathyroidea inferior, glandula parathyroidea superior|
|Gray's||subject #273 1271|
|Thyroid and parathyroid.|
The parathyroid glands are small endocrine glands in the neck that produce parathyroid hormone. These glands are usually located behind the thyroid gland and in rare cases are located within the thyroid glands. Most people have four parathyroid glands, but some people have six or even eight.
Anatomy[edit | edit source]
The parathyroid glands are four or more small glands located on the posterior surface of the thyroid gland. Histologically they are quite easily recognizable from the thyroid as they have densely packed cells in contrast with the follicle structure of the thyroid.  However at surgery they are harder to differentiate from the thyroid or fat.
|parathyroid chief cells||darker||many||smaller||manufacture PTH (see below).|
|oxyphil cells||lighter||few||larger||function unknown.|
History[edit | edit source]
Physiology[edit | edit source]
Parathyroid hormone (PTH, also known as parathormone) is a small protein that takes part in the control of calcium and phosphate homeostasis, as well as bone physiology. Parathyroid hormone has effects antagonistic to those of calcitonin. It increases blood calcium levels by stimulating osteoclasts to break down bone and release calcium. It also increases gastrointestinal calcium absorption by activating vitamin D, and promotes calcium uptake by the kidneys.
Embryology and evolution[edit | edit source]
Genetically, Eya-1 (transcripitonal co-activator), Six-1 (a homeobox transcription factor), and Gcm-2 (a transcription factor) have been associated with the development of the parathyroid gland, and alterations in these genes alters parathyroid gland development.
The conserved homology of genes and calcium sensing receptors in fish gills with those in the parathryroid glands of birds and mammals is recognized by evolutionary developmental biology as evolution using genes and gene networks in novel ways to generate new structures with some similar functions and novel functions.
The superior parathyroids arise from the fourth pharyngeal pouch and the inferior parathyroids arise from the third pharyngeal pouch. They are vertically transposed during embyrogenesis. This is significant in function-preserving parathyroidectomy because the superior parathyroids are supplied by the inferior thyroid artery and the inferior parathyroids are supplied by the superior thyroid artery. If the surgeon is to leave a single functional parathyroid for the patient, they must preserve the appropriate blood supply.
Additional images[edit | edit source]
See also[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
[edit | edit source]
- Endocrine Web at endocrineweb.com
- The origin of the parathyroid gland at pnas.org
- Human Gland Probably Evolved From Gills at pandasthumb.org
- The role of the endoderm in the development and evolution of the pharyngeal arches at blackwell-synergy.com
- Parathyroid disease and treatments discussed in layman's terms at Parathyroid.com
- Deep homologies in the pharyngeal arches at scienceblogs.com
- Dictionary at eMedicine Parathyroid+gland
- Virtual Slidebox at Univ. Iowa Slide 149
Human anatomy, endocrine system: endocrine glands
|Islets of pancreas|
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