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an aggregate of nerve cells concentrated in the preoptic area of the anterior hypothalamus and in the nuclei of the posterior hypothalamus that provides thermoregulation in man and warm-blooded animals.
The hypothalamic thermoregulatory center, which receives impulses from thermoreceptors for heat or coldness, coordinates the processes that maintain a constant body temperature. Some neurons of the thermoregulatory center, called thermodetectors, are themselves highly sensitive to temperature. They send more impulses to other neurons when the temperature of the blood entering the hypothalamus is above normal, and fewer impulses when it is below normal. Other nerve cells, called integrating neurons, are not themselves highly sensitive to temperature, but through the synapses they receive temperature signals from the thermodetectors of the hypothalamus and from some other parts of the central nervous system, such as the thalami, midbrain, and spinal cord, as well as from the thermoreceptors of the skin. The integrating neurons assemble the temperature stimuli from various locations in the body and send impulses to the effector organs of the thermoregulatory system, such as the blood vessels in the skin, the sweat and endocrine glands, and the muscles.
The functioning of the thermoregulatory center is influenced by the higher areas of the central nervous system, particularly the cerebral cortex. Destruction of the thermoregulatory center leads to severe disruption of thermoregulation. However, thermoregulation becomes partially restored after a certain time, since there are thermosensitive nerve cells in other areas of the central nervous system.
REFERENCESVeselkin, P. N. Likhoradka, Moscow, 1963.
Ivanov, K. P. Bioenergetika i temperaturnyi gomeostazis. Leningrad, 1972.
K. P. IVANOV