The hypothalamus is a small, vital section of the brain located just below the thalamus; it is in charge of numerous important bodily functions. The hypothalamus is shaped like a cone and ends in the pituitary stalk, a part of the pituitary gland. It forms the major portion of the ventral region of diencephalons, and oversees autonomic and metabolic processes. The hypothalamus is the connection between the nervous system and the endocrine system, creating this link by producing and secreting neurohormones that in turn stimulate the anterior pituitary gland to secrete hormones. The hypothalamus is central in the regulation of body temperature, hunger, thirst, and in the management of emotions and sexual activity. The hypothalamus situated on both sides of the third ventricle, below the thalamus. In the hypothalamus there is a paraventricular nucleus, which contain large neurons that send axons to the posterior pituitary. The periventricular zone possess cells that send axons to the median eminence (a section of the lower hypothalamus), which then carry to the anterior pituitary, released factors. The basalis nucleus is involved in sleep and restlessness. The hypothalamus also has a fornix, which begins in the hippocampus and ends in the mammillary bodies.
The hypothalamus's main function is that of homeostasis. In order for the hypothalamus to successfully fulfill this task, it must receive inputs about the body's "state," and it must be able to create changes in the body that will correct anything that might be misaligned. The hypothalamus receives inputs from the nucleus of the solitary tract, which provides it with information about gut distension and blood pressure. The reticular formation tell the hypothalamus about the body's skin temperature. Inputs received from the retina go to the suprachiasmatic nucleus, a small nucleus in the hypothalamus, which help regulate circadian rhythms. The circumventricular organs, which contain no blood-brain barrier,...
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