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Development of the Hypothalamus

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889196340 Year: Pages: 264 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-634-0 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Science (General) --- Neurology
Added to DOAB on : 2016-08-16 10:34:25
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Abstract

The hypothalamus is the region of the brain in charge of the maintenance of the internal milieu of the organism. It is also essential to orchestrate reproductive, parental, aggressive-defensive, and other social behaviors, and for the expression of emotions. Due to the structural complexity of the hypothalamus, however, many basic aspects of its ontogenesis are still mysterious. Nowadays we assist to a renewal of interest spurred in part by the growing realization that prenatal and early postnatal influences on the hypothalamus could entail pathological conditions later in life. Intriguing questions for the future include: do early specification phenomena reflect on adult hypothalamic function and possibly on some kinds of behavior? Can early events like specification, migration or formation of nuclei influence adult hypothalamic function? A change in morphological paradigm, from earlier columnar interpretations to neuromeric ones, is taking place. Concepts long taken for granted start to be challenged in view of advances in developmental and comparative neurobiology, and notably also in the molecular characterization of hypothalamic structures. How should we understand the position of the hypothalamus in relation to other brain regions? Should we bundle it together with the thalamus, a functionally, genetically and developmentally very different structure? Does the classic concept of “diencephalon” make sense, or should the hypothalamus be separated? Does the preoptic area belong to the hypothalamus or the telencephalon? The answer to these questions in the context of recent causal molecular analysis will help to understand hypothalamic evolution and morphogenesis as well as its adult function and connectivity. In this Research Topic we have reviewed the fundamentals of hypothalamic ontogenesis and evolution, summarizing present-day knowledge, taking stock of the latest advances, and anticipating future challenges.

Keywords

Cadherins --- circadian --- Mammillary --- MCH --- Nkx2.4 --- Notch --- Oxytocin --- prosomeric --- Shh --- thyroid

Adaptive Function and Brain Evolution

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889193066 Year: Pages: 266 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-306-6 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Neurology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2016-02-05 17:24:33
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The brain of each animal shows specific traits that reflect its phylogenetic history and its particular lifestyle. Therefore, comparing brains is not just a mere intellectual exercise, but it helps understanding how the brain allows adaptive behavioural strategies to face an ever-changing world and how this complex organ has evolved during phylogeny, giving rise to complex mental processes in humans and other animals. These questions attracted scientists since the times of Santiago Ramon y Cajal one of the founders of comparative neurobiology. In the last decade, this discipline has undergone a true revolution due to the analysis of expression patterns of morphogenetic genes in embryos of different animals. The papers of this e-book are good examples of modern comparative neurobiology, which mainly focuses on the following four Grand Questions: a) How are different brains built during ontogeny?b) What is the anatomical organization of mature brains and how can they be compared?c) How do brains work to accomplish their function of ensuring survival and, ultimately, reproductive success?d) How have brains evolved during phylogeny? The title of this e-book, Adaptive Function and Brain Evolution, stresses the importance of comparative studies to understand brain function and, the reverse, of considering brain function to properly understand brain evolution. These issues should be taken into account when using animals in the research of mental function and dysfunction, and are fundamental to understand the origins of the human mind.

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