Author(s): Smith PM, Ferguson AV
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Abstract To maintain homeostasis autonomic control centers in the hypothalamus and medulla must respond appropriately to both external and internal stimuli. Although protected behind the blood-brain barrier, neurons in these autonomic control centers are known to be influenced by changing levels of important signaling molecules in the systemic circulation (e.g., osmolarity, glucose concentrations, and regulatory peptides). The subfornical organ belongs to a group of specialized central nervous system structures, the circumventricular organs, which are characterized by the lack of the normal blood-brain barrier, such that circulating lipophobic substances may act on neurons within this region and via well-documented efferent neural projections to hypothalamic autonomic control centers, influence autonomic function. This review focuses on the role of the subfornical organ in sensing peripheral signals and transmitting this information to autonomic control centers in the hypothalamus.
This article was published in Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Experimental Cardiology