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AMUR. ZOOI... 18:383(1978).
Introduction to the Symposium:
Brain-Hormone Interactions
Laboratory of Human Reproduction
and Reproductive Biology,
Harvard Medical School,
Boston, MA 02115
By far the largest body of knowledge
relating to brain-hormone interactions
comes from studies of a few adult mammalian, primarily rodent, species. It seems
appropriate for a meeting of the American
Society of Zoologists to expand our views
of the subject through the dimension of
time by concentrating only on developmental and phylogenetic aspects. Placed in
the context of what is already known these
presentations should add considerable
perspective to the field of neuroendocrinology and may, in addition, permit
identification of evolutionary trends and
fundamental patterns common to all vertebrates.
The first three papers on the program
deal with the brain as an endocrine organ,
specifically with the synthesis of hypophysiotropic factors. T h e remaining
papers give consideration to the brain as a
hormone target. Particular focus will be
directed at discrete neuroanatomical target
areas and at the molecular mechanisms
which underly central hormone actions
and the behavioral expression of these
actions. Some newly devised techniques
and novel adaptations of methodology
borrowed from other disciplines will also
be described.
In planning the program, an attempt
was made to present anatomical, behavioral, and biochemical approaches to a
common theme. A seemingly disproportionate share of time is given over to the
sex steriods and reproduction, but these
are favored subjects of investigation, and a
comprehensive picture in this area is beginning to emerge. For many years, a
direct relationship between changes in behavior and gonadal secretions has been
recognized while similar relationships between the active principles of other glands
and the central nervous system (CNS) have
been less obvious. The neurohypophysial
hormones were intentionally excluded, because they were the subject of a recent ASZ
symposium (Amer. Zool. 16, 1976).
An up-to-date, broad overview of
brain-hormone interactions that will be
particularly useful to teachers of neuroendocrinology and related subjects is presented in these papers. In addition, I hope
that this symposium will identify gaps in
our knowledge, suggest productive research areas, and stimulate interest in animal models other than common laboratory
species for the study of CNS-endocrine