Integrative role of the lamina terminalis in the regulation of cardiovascular and body fluid homeostasis

Alan Kim Johnson, J. Thomas Cunningham, Robert L. Thunhorst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Scopus citations


1. Cardiovascular and body fluid homeostasis depends upon the activation and co-ordination of reflexes and behavioural responses. In order to accomplish this, the brain receives and processes both neural and chemical input. Once in the brain, information from sources signalling the status of the cardiovascular system and body fluid balance travels, and is integrated, throughout a widely distributed neural network. Recent studies using neuroanatomical and functional techniques have identified several key areas within this neural network. One major processing node is comprised of structures located along the lamina terminalis. 2. Structures associated with the lamina terminalis include the median preoptic nucleus (MePO) and two sensory circumventricular organs (SCVO), the subfornical organ (SFO) and the organum vasculosum of the lamina terminalis (OVLT). Current evidence indicates that blood-borne signals, such as angiotensin II (AngII), reach SCVO (e.g. SFO) where they are transduced. This information is then carried via neural pathways to brain nuclei (e.g. MePO) where it is integrated with other inputs, such as those derived from systemic arterial blood pressure and volume receptors. 3. Because of their receptive and integrative functions, lamina terminalis structures are essential for the normal control of hormone release (e.g. vasopressin), sympathetic activation and behaviours (thirst and salt appetite), which collectively contribute to maintenance of cardiovascular and body fluid homeostasis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-191
Number of pages9
JournalClinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1996


  • Angiotensin
  • Ibotenic acid
  • Organum vasculosum of the lamina terminalis
  • Salt appetite
  • Sensory circumventricular organs
  • Subfornical organ
  • Sympathetic nervous system
  • Thirst
  • Vasopressin
  • c-fos


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