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      Development of the ventromedial nucleus of the hypothalamus.

      Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology

      Animals, Apoptosis, physiology, Cell Movement, Cell Proliferation, Female, Homeodomain Proteins, Humans, Neural Pathways, cytology, growth & development, Neurons, Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear, Sexual Behavior, Sexual Behavior, Animal, Stem Cells, Steroidogenic Factor 1, Transcription Factors, Ventromedial Hypothalamic Nucleus

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          The ventromedial nucleus of the hypothalamus (VMH) is important in the regulation of female sexual behavior, feeding, energy balance, and cardiovascular function. It is a highly conserved nucleus across species and a good model for studying neuronal organization into nuclei. Expression of various transcription factors, receptors, and neurotransmitters are important for the development of this nucleus and for mapping the position of identified cells within the nucleus. The VMH is subdivided into regions, all of which may project to specific locations to carry out various functions. For example, the ventrolateral quadrant contains a subset of neurons that highly express estrogen receptors. These neurons specifically are involved in the lordosis response pathway through projections to other estrogen receptor containing regions. In development, neurons that form the VMH generate from the proliferative zone surrounding the third ventricle. Neurons then migrate along radial glial fibers to final positions within the nucleus. Migration and positioning of neurons is an important step in setting up connections to and from the VMH and hence in its function. As compared to other developing brain regions, cell death may play a minor role in sculpting the VMH. We review the processes involved in forming a functional nuclear group and some of the factors known to be involved particularly focusing on the positioning of identified neurons within the VMH.

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