Pineal Gland Histology

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The pineal gland , also known as the pineal body , conarium or epiphysis cerebri , is a small endocrine gland in the vertebrate brain . The shape of the gland resembles a pine cone , hence its name. The pineal gland is located in the epithalamus , near the center of the brain, between the two hemispheres , tucked in a groove where the two halves of the thalamus join. The pineal gland produces melatonin , a serotonin derived hormone which modulates sleep patterns in both circadian and seasonal cycles. [1] [2]

In humans, the cycles of sleep and wakefulness usually mimic the rhythm of light and dark. One contributing factor to this phenomenon is the activity of a small, cone-like, flattened body called the pineal gland or the epiphysis cerebri. This endocrine gland, located deep within the brain in the posterior cranial fossa , is responsible for releasing hormones that alter the state of wakefulness and sleep. This article will cover the gross anatomy, histology, vascular supply, and some clinical implications of the gland.