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Updated: Oct 20 2020


  • Introduction
    • Function
      • along with the pituitary it forms the connection between the endocrine and nervous system
      • maintains homeostasis controlling a number of functions such as
        • hunger, sleep-wake cycle, thirst, and sexual desire (Homeostatic mechanisms)
        • Endocrine system via the pituitary
        • the Autonomic system
        • the Limbic system
        • mnemonic ("HEAL")
    • Anatomy
      • the hypothalamus is part of the diencephalon and is found beneath the thalamus
        • thus is called "hypo"thalamus
      • it is found posteriorly and dorsally to the optic chiasm
    • Circuitry
      • input
        • OVLT (organum vasculosum lamina terminalis)
          • senses osmolarity changes resulting in
            • vasopressin release
        • area postrema
          • a vomit-inducing center and contains chemoreceptors to detect toxins
            • for example, it responds to emetic drugs
      • major hypothalamic nuclei
      • Major Hypothalamic Nuclei
      • Nuclei
      • Function
      • Comment
      • Lateral area
      • Involved in promoting appetite
      • A lesion in the lateral hypothalamus results in weight loss
      • Ventromedial nucleus
      • Involved in inhibiting appetite
      • A lesion in the medial hypothalamus results in weight gain
      • Anterior hypothalamus
      • Involved indetecting increasing body temperature and thus activating
        • heat dissipating mechanisms via parasympthetics
      • A lesion in the anterior hypothalamus results in hyperthermia
      • Posterior hypothalamus
      • Involved in heat conservation via sympathetics
      • A lesion in the posterior hypothalamus results in poikilothermia
      • Suprachiasmatic nuclei
      • Involved in regulating circadian rhythms
      • -
      • Supraoptic and paraventricular nuclei
      • Involved in synthesizing
        • vasopressin and oxytocin
      • -
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