The hypothalamus is responsible for total control and the integration of information regarding the autonomic nervous system. It is positioned just upwards of the pituitary gland. The hypothalamus effectively regulates autonomic, somatic, and endocrine responses during various stages of behavior and action.

It does this through the motor fibers of the brain stem, the posterior pituitary, and the hormones which are designed to regulate the anterior pituitary gland.


Through various experiments involving the hypothalamus, it has been determined that it can regulate behaviors such as sexual behavior, hunger and eating behaviors, aggressive behaviors, and satiated behaviors. If there is chronic and excessive stimulation of the lateral hypothalamus, overeating and obesity are the result while stimulation of the medial hypothalamus will result in the inhibition of eating.


Image: Hypothalamus

Osmoreceptors, which stimulate the sensation of thirst, are also located in the hypothalamus, as is the secretion of the hormone antidiuretic hormone which exists in the posterior pituitary gland. The body’s natural thermostat for regulating body temperature is in the hypothalamus.


The somatic response of shivering can be controlled through the hypothalamus as well as the response of stopping the process of shivering when the hypothalamus reaches a more acceptable body temperature, which is a sympathetic response.

When the hypothalamus is stimulated experimentally with excessive heat, the response is stimulated by somatic nerves and results in hyperventilation, and autonomic nerve response including salivation, vasodilation, and salivation.

The hypothalamus, which is responsible for somatic control and control of the endocrine system, is coordinated in conjunction with the sympathetic and parasympathetic nerves and responses via the medulla oblongata. The hypothalamus is subjugated by influence of the higher brain centers.
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