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.
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