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Functional Aspects of Hypothalamic Asymmetry

Department of Physiology and Biochemistry, University of Veterinary Medicine, 1078 Budapest, Hungary
Department of Animal Physiology and Animal Health, Szent Istvan University, Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, 2100 Gödöllő, Hungary
Division of Comparative Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(6), 389;
Received: 14 May 2020 / Revised: 8 June 2020 / Accepted: 16 June 2020 / Published: 19 June 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Computational Neuroscience and Neuroinformatics)
Anatomically, the brain is a symmetric structure. However, growing evidence suggests that certain higher brain functions are regulated by only one of the otherwise duplicated (and symmetric) brain halves. Hemispheric specialization correlates with phylogeny supporting intellectual evolution by providing an ergonomic way of brain processing. The more complex the task, the higher are the benefits of the functional lateralization (all higher functions show some degree of lateralized task sharing). Functional asymmetry has been broadly studied in several brain areas with mirrored halves, such as the telencephalon, hippocampus, etc. Despite its paired structure, the hypothalamus has been generally considered as a functionally unpaired unit, nonetheless the regulation of a vast number of strongly interrelated homeostatic processes are attributed to this relatively small brain region. In this review, we collected all available knowledge supporting the hypothesis that a functional lateralization of the hypothalamus exists. We collected and discussed findings from previous studies that have demonstrated lateralized hypothalamic control of the reproductive functions and energy expenditure. Also, sporadic data claims the existence of a partial functional asymmetry in the regulation of the circadian rhythm, body temperature and circulatory functions. This hitherto neglected data highlights the likely high-level ergonomics provided by such functional asymmetry. View Full-Text
Keywords: neuroendocrine lateralization; melanocortin system; estrous cycle; circadian rhythm neuroendocrine lateralization; melanocortin system; estrous cycle; circadian rhythm
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MDPI and ACS Style

Kiss, D.S.; Toth, I.; Jocsak, G.; Barany, Z.; Bartha, T.; Frenyo, L.V.; Horvath, T.L.; Zsarnovszky, A. Functional Aspects of Hypothalamic Asymmetry. Brain Sci. 2020, 10, 389.

AMA Style

Kiss DS, Toth I, Jocsak G, Barany Z, Bartha T, Frenyo LV, Horvath TL, Zsarnovszky A. Functional Aspects of Hypothalamic Asymmetry. Brain Sciences. 2020; 10(6):389.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Kiss, David S., Istvan Toth, Gergely Jocsak, Zoltan Barany, Tibor Bartha, Laszlo V. Frenyo, Tamas L. Horvath, and Attila Zsarnovszky. 2020. "Functional Aspects of Hypothalamic Asymmetry" Brain Sciences 10, no. 6: 389.

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