Development of the Hypothalamus

Development of the Hypothalamus

Stuart Tobet, Kristy McClellan
ISBN: 9781615045129 | PDF ISBN: 9781615045136
Copyright © 2013 | 83 Pages | Publication Date: 04/01/2013

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The involvement of key factors operating independently or in cooperation with others contributes to physical and physiological mechanisms to help engineer a vertebrate hypothalamus. The actions of these key factors influence developmental mechanisms including neurogenesis, cell migration, cell differentiation, cell death, axon guidance, and synaptogenesis. On a molecular level, there are several ways to categorize the actions of factors that drive brain development. These range from the actions of transcription factors in cell nuclei that regulate the expression of developmental genes, to external factors in the cellular environment that mediate interactions and cell placements, and to effector molecules that contribute to signaling from one cell to another. Sexual dimorphism is a hallmark of the vertebrate hypothalamus that may arise as a direct consequence of hormone actions or gene actions. These actions may work through any of the mechanisms outlined above. Given the arrangement of cells in groups within the hypothalamus, cell migration may be one particularly important target for early molecular actions that help build the bases for appropriate functions.

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Table of Contents

Compartments in the Diencephalon
Building a Hypothalamus: Neurogenesis, Cell Survival, and Cell Death
Building a Hypothalamus: Cell Migration
The Long and Winding Road of GnRH Neuronal Migration
Formation of Cell Groups
Rebuilding the Hypothalamus
Author Biographies
Series of Related Interest

About the Author(s)

Stuart Tobet, Colorado State University
Stuart Tobet , Ph.D., is Professor of Biomedical Sciences and Biomedical Engineering at the Colorado State University. He received his B.S. degree in Physiological Psychology from Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana in 1978 and his Ph.D. in Neural and Endocrine Regulation from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1985. His interest in brain development originated from his undergraduate experiences and research projects in the laboratory of Janis Dunlap, Ph.D. and Arnold Gerall, Ph.D. that involved looking at the impact of factors during pregnancy on long-term consequences for physiology and behavior at Tulane University in New Orleans. As a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he worked with Michael Baum, Ph.D., to identify and begin to characterize the first sexual dimorphism in the hypothalamus of a non-rodent species, ferrets. In 1985, he joined the laboratory of Thomas Fox, Ph.D. at Harvard Medical School as a postdoctoral fellow to begin defining biochemical and cellular mechanisms that might drive the development of sexual dimorphisms in the hypothalamus. In 1989, he joined the faculty in the Department of Neurology at Harvard Medical School with a laboratory at the E.K. Shriver Center for Mental Retardation in Waltham, Massachusetts. The laboratory goals remained to define biochemical and cellular mechanisms that drive the development of sexual dimorphisms in the hypothalamus. In 2000, the University of Massachusetts Medical School acquired the E.K. Shriver Center and he became Associate Professor of Physiology. Together with Gerald Schwarting, Ph.D., they were the first to visualize the movement of neurons containing gonadotropin-releasing hormone from the nasal compartment into the brain using a head slice model in vitro. In 2003, he moved to join the faculty in the Department of Biomedical Sciences in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Colorado State University. In 2006, he began a series of collaborations starting first with one, then 2, then 3 and more members of what became the School of Biomedical Engineering in 2007. In 2010, he became the director of the School of Biomedical Engineering with the goals of promoting collaboration and working to solve unmet medical needs. His current research interests still revolve around determining biochemical and cellular mechanisms that drive development. However, currently "development" has expanded beyond the hypothalamus to include other brain regions, brain angiogenesis, other organs, and potential implications in cancer. Biomedical engineering projects revolve around measuring critical molecules using novel biosensors that account for high spatial and temporal resolution. Such technologies make it possible to consider assessing molecular gradients that provide key signals for cellular communications. Dr. Tobet has received a number of grants from NSF and NIH and he is just finishing a four-year term as a standing member of the NIH Neuroendocrinology, Neuroimmunology, Rhythms, and Sleep review group, in which he served his last two years as the chairperson. He is an Associate Editor of the Journal of Neuroendocrinology, and serves on the editorial board of International Journal of Endocrinology, Frontiers in Neuroendocrine Science, the Faculty of 1000, and a new journal entitled Technology Transfer & Entrepreneurship to be published by Bentham Science Publishers.

Kristy McClellan, Buena Vista University
Kristy McClellan, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Biology at Buena Vista University. She received her B.A. degree in Biology from Taylor University in 2001 and her Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology from Colorado State University in 2008. Her interest in brain development began as a first-year graduate student at Colorado State University where she was influenced by work in the labs of Robert Handa, Ph.D., and Stuart Tobet, Ph.D., that involved looking at the effects of hormones on brain development. She went on to complete her thesis work in the lab of Stuart Tobet, Ph.D., studying the effects of GABA on hypothalamic development. Currently, she is an Assistant Professor of Biology at an undergraduate university in northwest Iowa where she teaches and oversees a variety of undergraduate research projects investigating brain development.

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