Definition: an endocrine (ductless) gland consisting of irregularly spheroid follicles, lying in front and to the sides of the upper part of the trachea and lower part of the larynx and of horseshoe shape, with two lateral lobes connected by a narrow central portion, the isthmus; and occasionally an elongated offshoot, the pyramidal lobe, which passes upward from the isthmus in front of the larynx. It is supplied by branches from the external carotid and subclavian arteries, and its nerves are derived from the middle cervical and cervicothoracic ganglia of the sympathetic system. It secretes thyroid hormone and calcitonin.
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