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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 in detecting 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
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Supraoptic and paraventricular nuclei
  • Involved in synthesizing
    • vasopressin and oxytocin
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