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By D.F. Swaab, J.P. Schade

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Forel illustrated the hypothalamus beautifully, naming its main structures, but did not give the region a name. However, in an earlier publication (1872) Forel had regarded the regio subthalamica as extending into the area which we now know as the lateral hypothalamus, with the anterior pillar of the fornix its rostral limit. The term “hypothalamus” was coined and introduced by Wilhelm His in 1893 in a classical paper prepared in anticipation of the pending formulation of the BNA. As based on the ontogenetic development of the human brain, His included in the hypothalamus the following: the caudal wall of the optic recess, the caudal part of the preoptic region, and the tuber cinereum and the infundibulum, all of which he included in the “pars optica hypothalami”, which he regarded as belonging to the BREAKTHROUGHS 25 Fig.

It lies at the level of the grey substance of the tuber cinereurn in the vicinity of the infundibulum” (p. 513). Before the advent of the stereotaxic instrument, research in the problem of diabetes BREAKTHROUGHS 33 insipidus was hampered because of the difficultyin producing discrete lesions in the hypothalamus without injury to the hypophysis. With the Clarke instrument small lesions could be made in any part of the hypothalamus without disturbing the infundibulum or the hypophysis. Fisher, Ingram and Ranson (1938) were able to show that bilateral interruption of the supraoptico-hypophysealtracts as they streamed over the optic chiasm, invariabky produced diabetes insipidus in cats and in monkeys.

No. 1). Nicolesco and Nicolesco (1929), pointing to the resemblance of large cells in the nucleus basalis - a cell aggregate situated well in front of the hypothalamus which von Kolliker (1896) called Meynert’s BusuZgungZion - to large cells in the hypothalamus, expressed the belief that this nucleus lay at the frontier between the diencephalon and the telencephalon and that it represented a vegetative portion of the diencephalon. It remains to be seen whether or not these notions have any validity, but they do give emphasis to the proposition that the hypothalamus is an “open system” so far as cell types are concerned.

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