by Greg Crowther
This is a little rap about the pituitary gland, focusing on the many tropic actions of this gland, which have earned it the nickname of "master gland." It was originally written for Biology 242 and 351 at UW-Bothell.
Well, I'm at the mercy of my hormones.
If I'm tired or thirsty, it's my hormones!
Yes, I'm at the mercy of my hormones....
So who's in charge of them?
Called "pituitary" by most of us.
It's the master gland
With the master plan,
Telling other glands
To secrete what they can!
ACTH goes to the adrenal;
TSH goes out to the thyroid,
FSH and LH go to the ovaries --
Or to the testes right between your thighs, boy!
• karaoke/sheet music
• MP3 (demo)
• MP3 (live)
• music video
Songs like this one can be used during class meetings and/or in homework assignments. Either way, the song will be most impactful if students DO something with it, as opposed to just listening.
An initial, simple follow-up activity could be to answer the study questions below. A more extensive interaction with the song might entail (A) learning to sing it, using an audio file and/or sheet music as a guide, and/or (B) illustrating it with pictures, bodily poses, and/or bodily movements. The latter activity could begin with students identifying the most important or most challenging content of the song, and deciding how to illustrate that particular content.
(1) Why, anatomically speaking, is "hypohypothalamus" a reasonable nickname for the pituitary gland? (Hint: what does "hypo" mean?)
(2) Another nickname for the pituitary gland is "master gland." What is the meaning of this other nickname?
(3) Do the four specific hormones listed in the rap come from the hypothalamus, the anterior pituitary, the posterior pituitary, or a mix of these?
(4) Are these four specific hormones all produced by the same cells?
(5) The lyrics state that "ACTH goes to the adrenal," etc. How do these hormones get to their respective targets?
(6) Which hormones do the adrenal gland, thyroid gland, and gonads secrete in response to the hormones they receive from the pituitary?
(7) Beyond the hormones mentioned in this rap, which additional hormones are also secreted by the pituitary?
(8) Considering the specific content covered by this song, is there anything important that is missing, unclear, or misleading? If so, what?
(Answers may be found on the answers page.)