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Hypothalamus

Latin: Thalamus ventralis
German: Hypothalamus

1 Definition

The hypothalamus is a vital part of the diencephalon. It serves as highest controlling center for all the vegetative and endocrine processes. It controls eg. respiration, circulation, sexual behavior as well as liquid and food uptake.

2 Anatomy

The hypothalamus forms the floor and the inferior part of the lateral wall of the 3rd ventricle. Lateral to the hypothalamus, you can find the internal capsule, and caudally, it fusions with the tegmentum mesencephali.

The hypothalamus forms the following prominent structures on its outside:

Important nuclei of the hypothalamus include:

3 Physiology

The hypothalamus acts its influence on the organs by producing different hormones:

The hypothalamus has afferent connections to the hippocampus, the thalamus, the striatum, the limbic system and the spinal cord. It has efferences to the thalamus, to the reticular formation and, within the hypothalamus, to the neurohypophysis. Negative feedback mechanisms control the regulation of hormone release.

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