Leading science, pioneering therapies
CRM Publications

Hormones and the hippocampus.

TitleHormones and the hippocampus.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2001
AuthorsLathe R
JournalJ Endocrinol
Date Published2001 May
KeywordsAdrenal Cortex Hormones, Alzheimer Disease, Amygdala, Androgens, Animals, Binding Sites, Blood Pressure, Body Temperature Regulation, Estrogens, Female, Gene Expression, Glucocorticoids, Gonadotropins, Pituitary, Hippocampus, Hormones, Humans, Hypothalamic Hormones, Immunity, Male, Memory, Nociceptors, Receptors, Cell Surface, Signal Transduction, Taste

Hippocampal lesions produce memory deficits, but the exact function of the hippocampus remains obscure. Evidence is presented that its role in memory may be ancillary to physiological regulation. Molecular studies demonstrate that the hippocampus is a primary target for ligands that reflect body physiology, including ion balance and blood pressure, immunity, pain, reproductive status, satiety and stress. Hippocampal receptors are functional, probably accessible to their ligands, and mediate physiological and cognitive changes. This argues that an early role of the hippocampus may have been in sensing soluble molecules (termed here 'enteroception') in blood and cerebrospinal fluid, perhaps reflecting a common evolutionary origin with the olfactory system ('exteroception'). Functionally, hippocampal enteroception may reflect feedback control; evidence is reviewed that the hippocampus modulates body physiology, including the activity of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis, blood pressure, immunity, and reproductive function. It is suggested that the hippocampus operates, in parallel with the amygdala, to modulate body physiology in response to cognitive stimuli. Hippocampal outputs are predominantly inhibitory on downstream neuroendocrine activity; increased synaptic efficacy in the hippocampus (e.g. long-term potentiation) could facilitate throughput inhibition. This may have implications for the role of the hippocampus and long-term potentiation in memory.

Alternate JournalJ. Endocrinol.
PubMed ID11312139