Hypothalamus, derived from Greek U’ποθαλαμοσ, meaning under the thalamus, occupies the major portion of the ventral diencephalon and forms the wall and floor of the inferior portion of the third ventricle. Comprised of specialized groups of neurons clustered in bilateral nuclei, the hypothalamus serves as the central regulator of homeostasis by interacting with and exerting regulatory influence over the following systems: the endocrine system via the pituitary gland, the autonomic nervous system, and the limbic system.
The hypothalamus is bounded by the lamina terminalis rostrally, the hypothalamic sulcus dorsally, and the internal capsule laterally. Forming the walls and floor of the inferior portion of the third ventricle, this diencephalic structure is composed of three functional mediolateral zones and three anatomical anterior-posterior levels. The mediolateral organization – the periventricular, middle, and lateral zones – corresponds to the functions of the...
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