Lateral hypothalamus definition

The lateral hypothalamus is a part of the hypothalamus that plays an important role in the regulation of food intake: electrical stimulation of this area causes animals to start eating and drinking.

When the lateral hypothalamus is destroyed, animals will stop eating and must be force-fed.

Lateral hypothalamus function

The lateral hypothalamus is very important for nutrition and food intake. In experiments, when this area was artificially stimulated with electrical impulses, the animals began to eat and drink, even when they were full, and when the nuclei were destroyed, they refused to eat at all.

Here are located neurons that regulate body temperature, digestion, pressure, and reduce the perception of pain. The lateral hypothalamus cells synthesize orexins which maintain wakefulness and affect metabolism. The greatest concentration of zones of pleasure among the limbic structures was also found in the lateral hypothalamus.

The introduction of adrenaline or norepinephrine into the lateral hypothalamus causes a food reaction, and the introduction of acetylcholine or carbacholine causes a drinking reaction. The neurons of the lateral nucleus of the hypothalamus are highly sensitive to glucose due to the presence of “glucose receptors” in them.

Lateral hypothalamus and obesity

Specialists from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine have figured out the mechanism for triggering eating behavior. Using high-tech methods, they saw what was happening in the brain at the neuronal level while consuming food. It turned out that lesions in the lateral hypothalamus lead to reduced food intake and maintenance of low weight.

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