Hypothalamus is a very small, but extremely important part of the diencephalon (fore-brain) which is basically responsible for controlling our endocrine functions through different hormones. It is also responsible for our autonomic functions and sexual behaviors.
- Control of Water balance:
It controls the water balance through Anti-Diuretic Hormone secreted by supraoptic nucleus & by creating the sensations of thirst when body fluid osmolality increases.
- Control of Autonomic functions:
It has a center for control of sympathetic (fight or flight response) and parasympathetic (rest and digest) functions.
- Control of Sexual functions:
It controls the sexual functions through secretion of gonadotrophin releasing hormone i.e. LHRH (Luteinizing Hormone-Releasing Hormone).
- Control of Endocrine functions:
It controls the endocrine functions through hypothalamic releasing hormones or inhibitory hormones and factors.
- Control of Emotions:
It has a center for integrations of complex autonomic and somatic reactions in emotional state.
- Control of Metabolism:
It controls the metabolism by controlling the intake of food through feeding center and satiety center.
- Control of Sleep:
It controls the sleep as the sleep center is present in Anterior Nucleus and waking center is present in Posterior Nucleus.
- Control of Temperature:
It controls the body temperature by heat-loss center which is present in Anterior Nucleus and heat-gain center which is present in Posterior Nucleus.
- Control of Body weight:
It controls body weight through:
a) Feeding center present in Lateral Hypothalamic Nucleus which increases the food intake.
b) Satiety center present in Ventro-medial Hypothalamic Nucleus which decreases the food intake.