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Specialty endocrinology

Pinealectomy is a surgical procedure in which the pineal gland is removed. It is performed only in rare cases, where a pineocytoma or a pineal gland cyst has become life-threatening.[ citation needed ]

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Gland Type of animal organ

In animals, a gland is a group of cells in an animal's body that synthesizes substances for release into the bloodstream or into cavities inside the body or its outer surface.

Third eye Spiritual concept

The third eye is a mystical and esoteric concept of a speculative invisible eye, usually depicted as located on the forehead, which provides perception beyond ordinary sight.

Pineal gland Endocrine gland in the brain of most vertebrates

The pineal gland, conarium, or epiphysis cerebri, is a small endocrine gland in the brain of most vertebrates. The pineal gland produces melatonin, a serotonin-derived hormone which modulates sleep patterns in both circadian and seasonal cycles. The shape of the gland resembles a pine cone, which gives it 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 is one of the neuroendocrine secretory circumventricular organs in which capillaries are mostly permeable to solutes in the blood.

Third ventricle Ventricle of the brain located between the two thalami

The third ventricle is one of the four connected ventricles of the ventricular system within the mammalian brain. It is a slit-like cavity formed in the diencephalon between the two thalami, in the midline between the right and left lateral ventricles, and is filled with cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).


Pinealocytes are the main cells contained in the pineal gland, located behind the third ventricle and between the two hemispheres of the brain. The primary function of the pinealocytes is the secretion of the hormone melatonin, important in the regulation of circadian rhythms. In humans, the suprachiasmatic nucleus of the hypothalamus communicates the message of darkness to the pinealocytes, and as a result, controls the day and night cycle. It has been suggested that pinealocytes are derived from photoreceptor cells. Research has also shown the decline in the number of pinealocytes by way of apoptosis as the age of the organism increases. There are two different types of pinealocytes, type I and type II, which have been classified based on certain properties including shape, presence or absence of infolding of the nuclear envelope, and composition of the cytoplasm.

Diencephalon Division of the forebrain around the third ventricle

The diencephalon is a division of the forebrain, and is situated between the telencephalon and the midbrain. The diencephalon has also been known as the 'tweenbrain in older literature. It consists of structures that are on either side of the third ventricle, including the thalamus, the hypothalamus, the epithalamus and the subthalamus.


The epithalamus is a posterior (dorsal) segment of the diencephalon. The epithalamus includes the habenular nuclei and their interconnecting fibers, the habenular commissure, the stria medullaris and the pineal gland.

Calcification Calcification in bones

Calcification is the accumulation of calcium salts in a body tissue. It normally occurs in the formation of bone, but calcium can be deposited abnormally in soft tissue, causing it to harden. Calcifications may be classified on whether there is mineral balance or not, and the location of the calcification. Calcification may also refer to the processes of normal mineral deposition in biological systems, such as the formation of stromatolites or mollusc shells.


Trataka is a yogic purification and a tantric method of meditation that involves staring at a single point such as a small object, black dot or candle flame. It is said to bring energy to the "third eye" and promote various psychic abilities.

Corpora arenacea

Corpora arenacea are calcified structures in the pineal gland and other areas of the brain such as the choroid plexus. Older organisms have numerous corpora arenacea, whose function, if any, is unknown. Concentrations of "brain sand" increase with age, so the pineal gland becomes increasingly visible on X-rays over time, usually by the third or fourth decade. They are sometimes used as anatomical landmarks in radiological examinations.

Pinealoma Medical condition

A pinealoma is a tumor of the pineal gland, a part of the brain that produces melatonin. If a pinealoma destroys the cells of the pineal gland in a child, it can cause precocious puberty.

Circumventricular organs Interfaces between the brain and the circulatory system

Circumventricular organs (CVOs) are structures in the brain characterized by their extensive and highly permeable capillaries, unlike those in the rest of the brain where there exists a blood–brain barrier (BBB) at the capillary level. Although the term "circumventricular organs" was originally proposed in 1958 by Austrian anatomist Helmut O. Hofer concerning structures around the brain ventricular system, the penetration of blood-borne dyes into small specific CVO regions was discovered in the early 20th century. The permeable CVOs enabling rapid neurohumoral exchange include the subfornical organ (SFO), the area postrema (AP), the vascular organ of lamina terminalis (VOLT), the median eminence, the pituitary neural lobe, and the pineal gland.

Parietal eye

A parietal eye, also known as a third eye or pineal eye, is a part of the epithalamus present in some vertebrates. The eye is located at the top of the head, is photoreceptive and is associated with the pineal gland, regulating circadian rhythmicity and hormone production for thermoregulation.

Superior cervical ganglion

The superior cervical ganglion (SCG) is part of the autonomic nervous system (ANS), more specifically it is part of the sympathetic nervous system, a division of the ANS most commonly associated with the fight or flight response. The ANS is composed of pathways that lead to and from ganglia, groups of nerve cells. A ganglion allows a large amount of divergence in a neuronal pathway and also enables a more localized circuitry for control of the innervated targets. The SCG is the only ganglion in the sympathetic nervous system that innervates the head and neck. It is the largest and most rostral (superior) of the three cervical ganglia. The SCG innervates many organs, glands and parts of the carotid system in the head.

Pineal gland cyst Medical condition

A pineal gland cyst is a usually benign (non-malignant) cyst in the pineal gland, a small endocrine gland in the brain. Historically, these fluid-filled bodies appeared on 1-4% of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain scans, but were more frequently diagnosed at death, seen in 4-11% of autopsies. A 2007 study by Pu et al. found a frequency of 23% in brain scans.

Habenular commissure

The habenular commissure, is a brain commissure situated in front of the pineal gland that connects the habenular nuclei on both sides of the diencephalon.

Pineocytoma Medical condition

Pineocytoma, is a benign, slowly growing tumor of the pineal gland. Unlike the similar condition pineal gland cyst, it is uncommon.

A chronobiotic is an agent that can cause phase adjustment of the body clock. That is, it is a substance capable of therapeutically entraining or re-entraining long-term desynchronized or short-term dissociated circadian rhythms in mammals, or prophylactically preventing their disruption following an environmental insult such as is caused by rapid travel across several time zones. The most widely recognized chronobiotic is the hormone melatonin, secreted at night in both diurnal and nocturnal species.

Brain-specific Homeobox is a protein that in humans is encoded by the BSX gene.