QS Study

Clinical anatomy of the Hypothalamus

The hypothalamus plays a key role in regulating pituitary function. It is a part of the brain that contains a number of small nuclei with a mixture of functions. It is located below the thalamus and is part of the limbic system.

Lesions of the hypothalamus give rise to one of the following syndromes.

(1) Obesity. Frolich’s syndrome or Laurence-Moon-Biedl syndrome.

(2) Diabetes insipidus.

(3) Diencephalic autonomic epilepsy. This is characterized by flushing, sweating, salivation, lacrimation, tachycardia, retardation of respiratory rate, unconsciousness etc.

(4) Sexual disturbance. Either precocity or importance.

(5) Disturbance of sleep, somnolence (persistent sleep), or narcolepsy (paroxysmal sleep).

(6) Hyperglycaemia and glycosuria.

(7) Acute ulcerations in the upper part of the gastrointestinal tract.

Clinical anatomy of the Hypothalamus 1

Fig: Clinical anatomy of the Hypothalamus

(8) Caudally, the hypothalamus extends to the periaqueductal gray matter of the midbrain, approximated by the mammillary bodies, interpeduncular fossa, and cerebral peduncles.

(9) The posterior portion of the hypothalamus, called the median eminence, contains the nerve endings of many neurosecretory cells, which run down through the infundibular stalk into the pituitary gland.

(10) Superiorly, the hypothalamus is divided from the thalamus by a groove in the lateral wall of the third ventricle, the hypothalamic sulcus.

(11) The lateral surface is contiguous with the thalamus and subthalamus and is bordered by the internal capsule and optic tracts. Medially, the hypothalamus is bound by the ependyma of the third ventricle.

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