The key difference between adrenal gland and thyroid gland is that the adrenal gland is a triangular-shaped gland located on top of the kidneys, while the thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the base of the neck.
The adrenal gland and thyroid gland are two important endocrine glands present in the human body and are involved in different metabolic functions. Both types of glands release different hormones that maintain the homeostasis of the body. Both glands work together in the production and release of hormones. These two glands show several differences structurally and functionally.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Adrenal Gland
3. What is Thyroid Gland
4. Similarities – Adrenal Gland and Thyroid Gland
5. Adrenal Gland vs Thyroid Gland in Tabular Form
6. Summary – Adrenal Gland vs Thyroid Gland
What is Adrenal Gland?
Adrenal glands are triangular-shaped glands located on top of the kidneys. They are also known as suprarenal glands. They produce hormones that help to regulate metabolism, blood pressure, immune system, maintain stress, and other functions.
Adrenal glands consist of two parts: the cortex and medulla. The adrenal cortex is the outer region of the gland and is the largest portion. The cortex is again divided into three different zones: zona glomerulosa, zona fasciculata, and zona reticularis. The adrenal medulla is in the center of the adrenal gland. Both adrenal cortex and medulla are coated with the adrenal capsule, which is a protective layer around an adrenal gland. Both parts produce different hormones. Cortisol is a glucocorticoid hormone produced by zona fasciculata. Aldosterone is a mineralocorticoid hormone produced by zona glomerulosa. Hormones such as DHEA and androgenic steroids are produced by zona reticularis. Epinephrine or adrenaline and norepinephrine or noradrenaline are produced in the medulla.
What is Thyroid Gland?
The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of the neck. This gland is a ductless gland. It releases hormones that control metabolism in the body. The thyroid gland is an endocrine gland that releases two hormones: thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). These hormones regulate the metabolic rate of the heart, muscle, brain development, digestive functions, and bone maintenance. The cells that produce thyroid hormones are specialized in extracting and absorbing iodine from the blood.
The thyroid gland has two lobes. These lobes are connected by a bridge-like structure called the isthmus in the middle. The gland is brownish-red in color since it is rich in blood vessels. The thyroid gland is supplied by inferior and superior arteries and veins, and it has a rich lymphatic system.
What are the Similarities Between Adrenal Gland and Thyroid Gland?
- Adrenal gland and thyroid gland are endocrine glands.
- Both glands release hormones.
- Moreover, the released hormones by these glands are associated with metabolism.
- Both release stress-related hormones to maintain homeostasis.
- They can undergo malfunctioning due to various phenomena.
What is the Difference Between Adrenal Gland and Thyroid Gland?
The adrenal gland is a suprarenal gland that consists of two parts: the adrenal cortex and adrenal medulla. The thyroid gland is an endocrine gland that consists of two lobes on either side of the trachea connected by a structure of tissues called the isthmus. Thus, this is the key difference between adrenal gland and thyroid gland. Besides, the adrenal gland is triangular shaped, while the thyroid gland possesses a butterfly shape. Moreover, there are two adrenal glands in the body while there is only one thyroid gland.
The below infographic presents the differences between adrenal gland and thyroid gland in tabular form for side by side comparison.
Summary – Adrenal Gland vs Thyroid Gland
Adrenal glands are triangular-shaped glands located on top of the kidneys and the thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the base of the neck. So, this is the key difference between adrenal gland and thyroid gland. Both glands are known as endocrine glands. The adrenal gland has two parts; the adrenal cortex and the medulla, and there are two adrenal glands in the body. The thyroid gland is a single gland, and it has two lobes separated by a structure called the isthmus. The adrenal gland releases hormones cortisol, aldosterone, DHEA, androgenic steroids, Adrenaline, and noradrenaline. The thyroid gland releases two hormones: thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). Thus, this summarizes the difference between adrenal gland and thyroid gland.
1. “1818 The Adrenal Glands” By OpenStax College – Anatomy & Physiology, Connexions Web site. , Jun 19, 2013. (CC BY 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Thyroid gland la” By Wikimedia Commons – Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia