The Italian Journal of Neurological Sciences

, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 261–266 | Cite as

Morphology of neurons in the anterior hypothalamic area and supraoptic hypothalamic nucleus of the adult human brain

  • Al-Hussain S. 
  • Al-Jomard R. 
Original Articles


Morphological features of neuronal cell types in the anterior hypothalamic area (AHA) and supraoptic hypothalamic nucleus (SON) of the adult human brain were analysed in Golgi impregnated preparations. Four neuronal cell types were described for the first time in these human nuclei. Type I neurons were found in both the AHA and SON, while the other three cell types (types II–IV) were found only in the SON. Type I neurons had elongated, triangular or multipolar somata, which emitted 2–5 sparsely branching primary dendrites with a moderate number of fine spines. Also many of type I neurons in the AHA had thin dendritic side-branches. Type II neurons had round or fusiform somata, and two occasionally branching primary dendrites. Type III neurons were multipolar neurons with 3–5 densely spined and sparsely branching dendrites. Their axons had collaterals. Type IV neurons had very small ovoid somata with one smooth and unbranched primary dendrite. The neurons in the human AHA and SON were similar to those observed in the same areas in other mammalian species, except for the very small neurons in the SON and the thin dendritic side-branches of type I neurons in the AHA, that had not been previously described.

Key Words

Human Hypothalamus Anterior hypothalamic area Supraoptic nucleus Neurons Golgi impregnation 

List of abbreviations


anterior commissure


optic chiasma


preoptic nucleus


lamina terminalis


third ventricle


Sono state analizzate le caratteristiche morfologiche delle popolazioni cellulari impregnate con metodo di Golgi, nelle aree ipotalamiche anteriore (AHA) e sopraottica (SON) del cervello umano adulto. Per la prima volta vengono descritte quattro sottopopolazioni neuronali. I neuroni del tipo I sono stati osservati sia in AHA che in SON mentre gli altri tre sottotipi neuronali (tipi II – IV) sono stati trovati solo in SON. I neuroni di tipo I hanno soma allungato, triangolare o multipolare da cui emergono 2–5 dendriti primari con un numero ridotto di spine. Molti di questi neuroni in AHA hanno sottili ramificazioni dendritiche. I neuroni di tipo II presentano un soma tondeggiante o fusiforme e generalmente due ramificazioni dendritiche principali. Il tipo III è caratterizzato da neuroni multipolari con 3–5 ramificazioni dendritiche ricche di spine. I loro assoni presentano collaterali. Il tipo IV ha soma piccolo ed ovoidale con dendriti primari sottili e che non si ramificano. I neuroni osservati nei nuclei AHA e SON dell'uomo sono simili a quelli osservati nelle stesse aree di altre speci animali ad eccezione dei piccoli neuroni in SON e delle caratteristiche delle ramificazioni dendritiche dei neuroni di tipo I in AHA. Queste caratteristiche morfologiche non sono state precedentemente descritte.


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Copyright information

© Masson S.p.A 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Al-Hussain S. 
    • 1
  • Al-Jomard R. 
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Anatomy, Faculty of MedicineJordan University of Science and TechnologyIRBIDJordan

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