Journal Article

Role of the Preoptic-Anterior Hypothalamus in Thermoregulation and Fever

Jack A. Boulant

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 31, issue Supplement_5, pages S157-S161
Published in print October 2000 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online October 2000 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/317521
Role of the Preoptic-Anterior Hypothalamus in Thermoregulation and Fever

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Lesion and thermal stimulation studies suggest that temperature regulation is controlled by a hierarchy of neural structures. Effector areas for specific thermoregulatory responses are located throughout the brain stem and spinal cord. The preoptic region, in and near the rostral hypothalamus, acts as a coordinating center and strongly influences each of the lower effector areas. The preoptic area contains neurons that are sensitive to subtle changes in hypothalamic or core temperature. Preoptic thermosensitive neurons also receive a wealth of somatosensory input from skin and spinal thermoreceptors. In this way, preoptic neurons compare and integrate central and peripheral thermal information. As a result of this sensory integration and its control over lower effector areas, the preoptic region elicits the thermoregulatory responses that are the most appropriate for both internal and environmental thermal conditions. Thermosensitive preoptic neurons are also affected by endogenous substances, such as pyrogens. By reducing the activity of warm-sensitive neurons and increasing the activity of cold-sensitive neurons, pyrogens cause fever, a state in which all thermoregulatory responses have elevated set-point temperatures.

Journal Article.  3343 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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