Neural Controls of Energy Homeostasis Caudal to the Forebrain

  • Harvey J. Grill
Part of the NATO Advanced Science Institutes Series book series (NSSA, volume 56)


The forebrain, particularly the hypothalamus, has loomed large in our thinking about the neural control of motivational states, particularly the behavioral and autonomic responses of energy balance in mammals. This hypothalamic focus derives from a variety of experimental strategies including ablation, focal lesioning, brain stimulation, and single unit recording. Bard (1939, 1940) demonstrated that the hypothalamus is required for the hormonal control of sexual behavior. Genital stimulation elicited a stereotyped pattern of sexual consummatory behavior in the absence of hormones in spinal and decerebrated cats. At the hypothalamic level, however, these sexual consummatory acts became hormonally controlled — as they are in intact cats. Subsequently, hypothalamic control over most hormonal functions has been directly demonstrated. Neurons which manufacture polypetide hormones and releasing factors as well as neurons sensitive to humoral substances manufactored outside the brain have been localized within the hypothalamus (Pfaff et al., 1973; Hayward, 1977). A different methodology — electrical stimulation and lesions of diencephalic sites — had also focused attention on the hypothalamus. The studies of Hess (1958) demonstrated that a wide range of autonomic responses capable of altering energy homeostasis could be elicited by focal hypothalamic stimulation. Subsequent studies have continued to infer a role for the hypothalamus in autonomic response elicitation. The specific anatomical and physiological substrate of this control, however, has only begun to be elucidated (Norgren, 1976; Beckstead et al., 1980; Ciriello and Calaresu, 1980).


Food Deprivation Energy Homeostasis Kainic Acid Neural Control Response Sequence 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Harvey J. Grill
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. of Psychology and Inst. of Neurological ScienceUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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