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Circumventricular Organs and Cardiovascular Homeostasis

  • Alastair V. Ferguson
  • Jaideep S. Bains
  • Vicki L. Lowes

Abstract

Since the first anatomical description of the circumventricular organs (CVOs) as a structurally distinct group of regions in the central nervous system (CNS), a rapidly emerging body of evidence has implicated the CVOs as physiologically significant autonomic control centers located at the blood-brain interface. Specialized features of these structures such as their extensive vasculature and lack of the normal blood-brain barrier (i. e., capillaries have a fenestrated endothelium) support an involvement of the CVOs in blood-brain communication. Such information transfer could potentially be from blood to neuron, from neuron to blood, or conceivably between cerebrospinal fluid and either the circulation or neurons. The median eminence and neurohypophysis provide persuasive examples of CVOs in which the primary direction of communication is apparently from neural tissue (hypothalamic neurosecretory neurons) to the circulation. Within such a framework, the lack of the normal blood-brain barrier presumably facilitates diffusion of released hypothalamic peptides from axonal terminals into the blood stream following secretion. The major role of such CVOs in cardiovascular regulation is thus related to the specific hormones released at these regions (e. g., vasopressin and corticotropin-releasing hormone) and their endocrine functions in control of the circulation. Such information is the subject of several excellent reviews (Cowley, 1988; Bisset and Chowdrey, 1988), and so will not be considered in detail in this chapter.

Keywords

Atrial Natriuretic Peptide Area Postrema Circumventricular Organ Cardiovascular Homeostasis Subfornical Organ 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Birkhäuser Boston 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alastair V. Ferguson
  • Jaideep S. Bains
  • Vicki L. Lowes

There are no affiliations available

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