Send to

Choose Destination
J Neuroendocrinol. 2000 Jul;12(7):635-48.

Neural connections of hypothalamic neuroendocrine nuclei in the rat.

Author information

Department of Anatomy, University of Cambridge, Cambridge UK.


The secretion of many hormones, including oxytocin, vasopressin and growth hormone, is not constant but shows a day-night rhythm. The suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) is thought to generate most mammalian biological rhythms and previous studies have reported suprachiasmatic efferents to the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) and the supraoptic nucleus (SON). We used in vivo extracellular electrophysiological techniques to show that the SCN also sends direct and indirect neural projections to the arcuate nucleus (ARC). This projection consisted of both excitatory and inhibitory components and may contribute to the entrainment of the rhythm in growth hormone secretion to the day-night cycle. Some SCN neurones appear to project to both the SON and the ARC. The SCN in turn receives excitatory and inhibitory inputs from the ARC and the peri-nuclear zone of the SON (peri-SON), which may provide feedback information, as well as allowing nonphotic entrainment of the SCN, for example, in response to feeding. Our data thus suggest extensive two-way connections between the SCN and its target nuclei which may contribute to the generation of day-night neuroendocrine rhythms. They also suggest the existence of indirect retinal projections to the ARC and PVN. We further investigated the retinal projection to the SCN. We were unable to demonstrate a significant difference in retinal input to those suprachiasmatic cells which had efferent projections to particular hypothalamic targets (SON and/or ARC), and those which did not.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center