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Cell and Tissue Research

, Volume 375, Issue 1, pp 23–39 | Cite as

Development of neuroendocrine neurons in the mammalian hypothalamus

  • Gonzalo Alvarez-BoladoEmail author
Review

Abstract

The neuroendocrine system consists of a heterogeneous collection of (mostly) neuropeptidergic neurons found in four hypothalamic nuclei and sharing the ability to secrete neurohormones (all of them neuropeptides except dopamine) into the bloodstream. There are, however, abundant hypothalamic non-neuroendocrine neuropeptidergic neurons developing in parallel with the neuroendocrine system, so that both cannot be entirely disentangled. This heterogeneity results from the workings of a network of transcription factors many of which are already known. Olig2 and Fezf2 expressed in the progenitors, acting through mantle-expressed Otp and Sim1, Sim2 and Pou3f2 (Brn2), regulate production of magnocellular and anterior parvocellular neurons. Nkx2-1, Rax, Ascl1, Neurog3 and Dbx1 expressed in the progenitors, acting through mantle-expressed Isl1, Dlx1, Gsx1, Bsx, Hmx2/3, Ikzf1, Nr5a2 (LH-1) and Nr5a1 (SF-1) are responsible for tuberal parvocellular (arcuate nucleus) and other neuropeptidergic neurons. The existence of multiple progenitor domains whose progeny undergoes intricate tangential migrations as one source of complexity in the neuropeptidergic hypothalamus is the focus of much attention. How neurosecretory cells target axons to the medial eminence and posterior hypophysis is gradually becoming clear and exciting progress has been made on the mechanisms underlying neurovascular interface formation. While rat neuroanatomy and targeted mutations in mice have yielded fundamental knowledge about the neuroendocrine system in mammals, experiments on chick and zebrafish are providing key information about cellular and molecular mechanisms. Looking forward, data from every source will be necessary to unravel the ways in which the environment affects neuroendocrine development with consequences for adult health and disease.

Keywords

Arcuate nucleus Genomic regulatory networks Hypophysis Magnocellular Neurosecretory Paraventricular Parvocellular Periventricular nucleus Progenitor domain Supraoptic nucleus 

Abbreviations

3V

third ventricle

ac

anterior commissure

Agrp

agouti related neuropeptide

AHA

anterior hypothalamic area

ANT

anterior region of the hypothalamus

ARH

nucleus arcuatus of the hypothalamus

Avp

arginine vasopressin

Cartpt

CART (cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript protein) prepropeptide

CNS

central nervous system

Crh

corticotropin releasing hormone

DMH

dorsomedial nucleus of the hypothalamus

Ghrh

growth hormone releasing hormone

Gnrh

gonadotropin releasing hormone

GRN

genomic regulatory network

hp.

hypophysis

Kiss1

kisspeptin (KiSS-1 metastasis-suppressor)

LHA

lateral hypothalamic area

MAM

mamillary region of the hypothalamus

MBO

mamillary body

MCH

melanin-concentrating hormone

ME

median eminence

α-MSH

alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone

NE

neuroendocrine (neurosecretory)

non-NE

non-neuroendocrine (non-neurosecretory)

Npy

neuropeptide Y

Oxt

oxytocin

PMA

premamillary area

POA

preoptic region of the hypothalamus

PTh

prethalamus

PV

periventricular nucleus

PVH

paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus

SCH

suprachiasmatic nucleus

SO

supraoptic nucleus

Sst

somatostatin

Th

tyrosine hydroxylase

Trh

thyrotropin releasing hormone

TUB

tuberal region of the hypothalamus

txf

transcription factor

VMH

ventromedial nucleus of the hypothalamus

VZ

ventricular zone

ZLI

zona limitans intrathalamica

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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department Neuroanatomy, Institute of Anatomy and Cell BiologyUniversity of HeidelbergHeidelbergGermany

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