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Parathyroid glands

Recommended video: Parathyroid gland histology [10:48]
Characteristics of the parathyroid gland at the microscopic level.

The parathyroid glands are four small circular glandular structures embedded in the posterior surface of the thyroid gland. They are an endocrine gland, producing parathyroid hormone (parathormone, PTH) which acts to control the level of calcium and phosphorus in the blood. When serum levels of calcium drops too low, the parathyroid hormone acts on the skeleton, kidneys and intestine to restore calcium ions to its homeostatic level.

The parathyroid glands are supplied by the inferior thyroid artery, the thyroid plexus of veins and the thyroid branches of the cervical sympathetic ganglia.

Terminology English: Parathyroid glands
Latin: Glandulae parathyreoideae
Definition Small endocrine glands embedded in the posterior aspect of the thyroid gland
Function Produces parathyroid hormone which acts to control serum levels of calcium and phosphorus

Learn more about the thyroid and parathyroid glands with this study unit:

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