Neural pathways from the lamina terminalis influencing cardiovascular and body fluid homeostasis

M. J. McKinley, A. M. Allen, C. N. May, R. M. McAllen, B. J. Oldfield, D. Sly, Frederick A O Mendelsohn

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1. The lamina terminalis, a region of the brain with a high concentration of angiotensin AT1 receptors, consists of three distinct nuclei, the median preoptic nucleus, the subfornical organ and organum vasculosum of the lamina terminalis (OVLT). These latter two regions lack a blood-brain and detect changes in plasma angiotensin (Ang) II concentration and osmolality. 2. Efferent neural pathways from the lamina terminalis to the hypothalamic paraventricular and supraoptic nuclei mediate vasopressin secretion in response to plasma hypertonicity and increased circulating levels of AngII. 3. Studies using the neurotropic virus pseudorabies, which undergoes retrograde transynaptic neuronal transport following injection into peripheral sites, show that neurons in the lamina terminalis have efferent polysynaptic neural connections to the peripheral sympathetic nervous system. Some of these neurons have been shown to have polysynaptic connections to the kidney and to express AT1 receptor mRNA. We propose that circulating AngII acts at AT1 receptors in the subfornical organ and OVLT to influence the sympathetic nervous system. It is likely that the neural pathway subserving this influence involves a synapse in the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus. 4. The lamina terminalis may exert an inhibitory osmoregulatory influence on renin secretion by the kidney. This osmoregulatory influence may be mediated by inhibition of renal sympathetic nerve activity and appears to involve a central angiotensinergic synapse. 5. The lamina terminalis exerts an osmoregulatory influence on renal sodium excretion that is independent of the renal nerves and is probably hormonally mediated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)990-992
Number of pages3
JournalClinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Angiotensin
  • Median preoptic nucleus
  • Natriuresis
  • Organum vasculosum lamina terminalis
  • Renin
  • Subfornical organ
  • Thirst

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