chapter  Chapter 5
13 Pages

Hypothalamic Neuroendocrine Regulation

WithWarren E. Finn

The hypothalamus regulates many somatic and visceral functions and serves as one of the main homeostatic control centers in the body. The study of hypothalamic regulation had its beginning with the work of E. Scharrer, B. Scharrer, and W. Bargmann and their descriptions of neurosecretory neurons using the Gomori chrome alum hematoxylin stain methods. Many biochemical experimental methods have been applied to the study of hypothalamic neuroendocrine regulation. The development of receptor ligand binding was instrumental in facilitating the purification and isolation of the receptor proteins on the neuron membranes. The type and distribution of the membrane receptors for many of the hypothalamic chemical signals have been mapped within the hypothalamic nuclei. The hypothalamus is a complex part of the central nervous system, having rich interconnections with the forebrain, limbic, and brain stem structures. Axons of paraventricular neurons extend laterally over and around the fornix, and then ventrally to join axons of the supraoptic neurons as the supraoptico-hypothalamo, hypophyseal tract.