Home Discussion Forum Does anyone know what the pineal gland is?

Does anyone know what the pineal gland is?

I have a cyst on my pineal gland in my brain,I have no clue what the pineal gland is,and My Dr. hasnt told me.He said it is benign.I also am being tested for high cortisol levels. My anxiety is going out of control.Any advice/

(Powered by Yahoo Answers)


  1. It’s a little gland at the back of your brain that secretes hormones (melatonin) related to sleeping and your body’s internal daily clock.

  2. The pineal gland (also called the pineal body or epiphysis) is a small endocrine gland in the brain. It is located near the center of the brain, between the two hemispheres, tucked in a groove where the two rounded thalamic bodies join.
    The pineal gland is a reddish-gray body about the size of a pea (8 mm in humans) located just rostro-dorsal to the superior colliculus and behind and beneath the stria medullaris, between the laterally positioned thalamic bodies. It is part of the epithalamus.
    The pineal gland is a midline structure, and is often seen in plain skull X-rays, as it is often calcified.
    Structure and composition
    The pineal gland consists mainly of pinealocytes, but four other cell types have been identified: interstitial cells, perivascular phagocyte, pineal neurons and peptidergic neuron-like cells.
    The pineal body consists in humans of a lobular parenchyma of pinealocytes surrounded by connective tissue spaces. The glands are covered on the surface by a pial capsule. The pinealocytes consist of a cell body from where 4-6 processes emerge. The pinealocytes can be stained by special silver impregnation methods. Between the pinealocytes are insterstitial cells located. Many capillaries are present in the gland, and close to these blood vessels are perivascular phagocytes located. The perivascular phagocytes are antigen presenting cells. In higher vertebrates neurons are located in the pineal gland. However, these are not present in rodents. In some species, neuronal-like peptidergic cells are present. These cells might have a paracrine regulatory function. In humans follicles containing a variable quantity of gritty material, called brain sand, acervuli, or corpora arenacea, are present. Chemical analysis of acervuli show that they are composed of calcium phosphate, calcium carbonate, magnesium phosphate, and ammonium phosphate. (Bocchi & Valdre, 1993). Recently, calcite deposits have been described as well (Baconnier et al., 2002).
    Pinealocytes in lower vertebrate animals have a strong resemblance to the photoreceptor cells of the eye. Some evolutionary biologists believe that the vertebrate pineal gland can be evolutionarily traced to a proto-eye structure in early vertebrate organisms (Klein, 2004). In birds, the pineal gland is located on the surface of the brain, directly under the skull and contains the photoreceptors to regulate their biological clock[1]. In humans and other mammals, this function is served by the retinohypothalamic system that sets the rhythm within the suprachiasmatic nucleus. Cultural and social interactions produce exposures to artificial light that influence the setting of the suprachiasmatic clock. Evidence for a role for opsin-related light-sensing compounds in the skin of mammals is presently controversial.
    The pineal gland was originally believed to be a “vestigial remnant” of a larger organ (much as the appendix is now thought to be a vestigial digestive organ). It was only after the 1960s that scientists discovered that the pineal gland is responsible for the production of melatonin, which is regulated in a circadian rhythm. Melatonin is a derivative of the amino acid tryptophan, which also has other functions in the Central Nervous System. The production of melatonin by the pineal gland is stimulated by darkness and inhibited by light (Axelrod, 1970). The retina detects the light, and directly signals and entrains the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). Fibers project from the SCN to the paraventricular nuclei (PVN), which relay the circadian signals to the spinal cord and out via the sympathetic system to superior cervical ganglia (SCG), and from there into the pineal gland.
    The pineal gland is large in children, but shrinks at puberty. It appears to play a major role in sexual development, hibernation in animals, metabolism, and seasonal breeding. The abundant melatonin levels in children is believed to inhibit sexual development. When puberty arrives, melatonin production is reduced.
    Pineal cytostructure seems to have evolutionary similarities to the retinal cells of chordates (Klein, 2004). Modern birds and reptiles have been found to express the phototransducing pigment melanopsin in the pineal gland. Avian pineal glands are believed to act like the suprachiasmatic nucleus in mammals (Natesan et al., 2002).
    Reports in rodents suggest that the pineal gland may influence the actions of drugs of abuse such as cocaine [1] and antidepressants such as fluoxetine (Prozac)[2]; and contribute to regulation of neuronal vulnerability. In addition, it has been proposed by Rick Strassman that the pineal gland is responsible for manufacture of endogenous dimethyltryptamine (DMT) although this is only speculation. There are some who believe DMT has a role in dreaming and possibly near-death experiences and other mystical states, and, although not proven, it was hypothesized in 1988 by Jace Callaway that DMT is connected with visual dreaming.
    The pineal gland was the last endocrine gland to have its function discovered. Its location deep in the brain seemed to indicate its importance. This combination led to its being a “mystery” gland with myth, superstition and even metaphysical theories surrounding its perceived function.
    Rene Descartes called the pineal gland the “seat of the soul” , believing it is unique in the anatomy of the human brain in being a structure not duplicated on the right and left sides. This observation is not true, however; under a microscope one finds the pineal gland is divided into two fine hemispheres.
    The pineal gland is occasionally associated with the sixth chakra (also called Ajna or the third eye chakra in yoga). It is believed by some to be a dormant organ that can be awakened to enable “telepathic” communication.
    ^ Moore RY, Heller A, Wurtman RJ, Axelrod J. Visual pathway mediating pineal response to environmental light. Science 1967;155(759):220—3. PMID 6015532
    ^ Descartes R. Treatise of Man. New York: Prometheus Books; 2003. ISBN 1591020905
    hope this helps!

  3. You are paying your doctor and they should answer any questions you have about any procedure they are doing for you in a way you can understand using courtesy and respect.
    Our bodies have a sleeping and a waking period called the circadian rhythm. The body knows when those times are by a hormone the pineal gland makes in response to sunlight. It’s called melatonin. It can be taken in pill form.
    Cortisol is involved with the adrenal cortex organ located in your abdomen. It makes cortisol when you are under stress. Only your doctor can tell you why he ordered your levels tested so you should ask him.
    Anxiety can be caused by fear or not understanding something. I think if you ask your doctor to explain this all to you it will go a long ways towards relieving your stress. Realize that they are there to help you in any way possible.
    Until then, whenever you feel yourself dwelling on all of it too much and your anxiety feels like it is getting out of control, do something physical like going for a walk or cleaning the house. After that, do something that is hard for you and requires all of your concentration so that you can’t think about your anxiety.
    I wish you the very, very best. May God bless you and watch over you.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here