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Definition of Thyrotropin

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Thyrotropin: A hormone produced by the pituitary gland at the base of the brain in response to signals from the hypothalamus gland in the brain.

The suffix -tropin indicates "an affinity for". Thyrotropin has an affinity for the thyroid. Thyrotropin is known also as thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH).

Thyrotropin (or, if you prefer, TSH) promotes the growth of the thyroid gland in the neck and stimulates it to produce more thyroid hormones. When there is an excessive amount of thyroid hormones, the pituitary gland stops producing TSH, reducing thyroid hormone production. This mechanism maintains a relatively constant level of thyroid hormones circulating in the blood.

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Reviewed on 12/27/2018

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