ANATOMICAL TRAVELOGUE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ANATOMICAL TRAVELOGUE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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The thyroid gland, located on the anterior aspect of the trachea regulates the metabolism and maintains of blood calcium levels. The thyroid produces hormones, tri-iodothyronine (T3) and tetra-iodothyronine (T4), which regulate basal metabolic rate and blood calcium levels respectively. The thyroid is unique to all endocrine glands in that it stores its product in fluid-filled pockets called follicles, until its product is needed. The pituitary gland triggers the thyroid to synthesize hormones from the colloid, a reservoir within the follicle. The thyroid then releases its products, T3 and T4, directly into the bloodstream via surrounding vessels.
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