Hormones released by the hypothalamus

The hormones released by the hypothalamus are as follows:

Anti-diuretic Hormone (ADH): This hormone maintains the amount of water in the body by regulating water absorption by the kidneys.

Oxytocin: This hormone helps in labor contractions during parturition, production of breast milk, maintenance of sleep cycle, and regulation of body temperature. The hypothalamus is responsible for stimulating the pituitary gland to secrete hormones.

Gonadotropin-releasing hormones (GnRHs) stimulate the pituitary to release hormones for the proper development and functioning of the reproductive organs.

The corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) causes steroids that enhance metabolism and improve the immune system.

Prolactin-controlling hormones inhibit or promote the production of breast milk.

The thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) induces the thyroid to release hormones required for growth, energy, and metabolism.

Disorders of the hypothalamus
Improper functioning of the hypothalamus results in hypothalamic dysfunction. It can result from brain surgery, head injury, tumors on or near the hypothalamus, genetic conditions resulting in growth hormone deficiency, congenital disabilities, autoimmune diseases, and eating disorders. In addition, hypothalamic dysfunction can lead to other conditions, which are as follows:

Diabetes insipidus: When the hypothalamus produces an insufficient amount of the anti-diuretic hormone, it leads to excess water levels in the body. It results in excess urination. As a result, people with this condition suffer from varying levels of blood glucose.

Hypopituitarism: Hypothalamus stimulates hormone release from the pituitary gland. When insufficient hormones are produced, it leads to a condition known as hypopituitarism.

Prader-Willi syndrome: In this condition, the hypothalamus does not receive and register the signal when one is full after eating. It results in a large appetite that can increase the risk for weight gain and obesity.

Functions of the hypothalamus
The hypothalamus helps in maintaining homeostasis in the body. Homeostasis refers to a balanced state of all physical, biological, and chemical components of the body. Homeostasis keeps the body healthy. The hypothalamus serves different functions that maintain the homeostatic state of the body.

Autonomic control: The hypothalamus controls the functioning of the brain and spinal cord. It processes signals from the different body parts and stimulates an appropriate response. For example, it can stimulate sympathetic and parasympathetic responses to different organs, thereby controlling the heart rate, contraction and relaxation of muscles, and propulsion of the food.

Endocrine control: The hypothalamus releases certain factors that signal the pituitary gland to promote or inhibit the release of specific hormones. The different factors released by the hypothalamus are growth hormone-releasing factors and inhibiting factors. In addition, prolactin-releasing factors and inhibiting factors, Luteinizing hormone-releasing factor, Corticotropin-releasing factor, and Thyrotropin-releasing factor are other factors that are influenced by the hypothalamus of the brain. The secretion of these factors and hormones from the pituitary gland depends on the positive or negative feedback mechanisms that are part of homeostasis.

Controlling appetite: The hypothalamus stimulates the feeling of hunger and thirst. It happens when the body senses a lack of nutrients or energy and sends signals to the brain.

Regulating body temperature: Inducing the anterior hypothalamus results in the dilation of vessels, sweat, and heat dissipation, thereby bringing down the body temperature. On the other hand, when the posterior hypothalamus is stimulated, it prevents sweating and causes the vessels to constrict, thereby maintaining and increasing the body temperature.

Managing behaviors and emotions: Hypothalamus can regulate different emotions and behaviors. If the lateral hypothalamus is stimulated, it will cause aggression, whereas stimulation of the medial hypothalamus results in a passive behavior. The hypothalamus can recognize signals from other parts of the brain and convert them into suitable emotions.

Regulating sleep: The hypothalamus contains a nucleus known as the suprachiasmatic nucleus that regulates the circadian cycle in humans. In specific conditions, the suprachiasmatic nucleus secretes the hormone melatonin that induces sleep, whereas lack of melatonin results in sleeplessness.

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