Homeostasis is broadly defined as the maintenance of internal physiological conditions in the face of altered environmental conditions. Conditions which are normally homeostatically maintained include body weight, blood glucose, body temperature, sleep, and thyroid hormone economy, among others. In this chapter, we outline some basic concepts of the anatomy and function of the hypothalamus, which is often viewed as the master regulator of homeostatic control. In addition, we highlight the hypothalamic regulation of food intake, energy balance, and metabolism, as well as hypothalamic regulation of thyroid function and autonomic function as prototypical examples of how the hypothalamic can respond to changing environmental conditions resulting in a coordinated set of responses.
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