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By A. Kalsbeek, E. Fliers, M.A. Hofman, D.F. Swaab, E.J.W. van Someren and R.M. Buijs (Eds.)

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Extra resources for Hypothalamic Integration of Energy Metabolism, Proceedings of the 24th International Summer School of Brain Research, held at the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences

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1995). Following immunocytochemistry, the immunoreactivities for 27 Fig. 20. Hypothalamic agouti-related protein (AGRP) peptide in human illness and obesity. Representative autoradiographs of AGRP ICC staining in the infundibular nucleus of control, PWS, and non-PWS obese adults, with sudden death, premorbid illness duration of o2 week or >5 week. , 2002; with permission). oxytocin and vasopressin are decreased in PWS patients (Fig. 22), although the variation within the groups is high. A large and highly significant decrease (42%) in the number of oxytocin-expressing neurons was found in all five PWS patients (Fig.

The decreased levels of fetal glucose, increased levels of cortisol and changes in leptin are presumed to activate NPY neurons in the fetal infundibular nucleus, that activate the fetal HPA axis and thus inducing the cascade that will lead to birth. , 2002). Cortisol not only triggers an increased fetal hypothalamic CRH production, but also placental CRH, which is the main source of this peptide around birth (Mastorakos and Ilias, 2003). In the fetal sheep, glucose concentrations decrease 30% in the second half of gestation and fetal hypothalamic NPY mRNA and NPY increase strongly 7–10 days before delivery.

1976). The observation that people who had a low birth weight have higher leptin concentrations in adult life than would be expected from their BMI, agrees with the hunger winter data on the programing of body weight during development. Low birth weight is also accompanied by a higher risk for impaired glucose tolerance and type-2 diabetes in adult life, and a higher prevalence of the metabolic or insulin resistance syndrome. , 1999). , 2004). , 2001). The fetal hypothalamus and the initiation of birth The concept of the fetal brain playing a crucial role in the start of labor originates from observations in cows and sheep.

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