Российская академия наук


Neuroendocrinology – soma, mind and behaviour



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Neuroendocrinology – soma, mind and behaviour

Selverova N.B.

Institute of Developmental Physiology of RAE, Moscow, Russia; nelli-selverova@yandex.ru


Neuroendocrine system exercising the main functions of the organism such as growth, differentiation, adaptation, and reproduction plays an important role in information support of the organism; it is not only the intermediary between the central nervous system and the other organs but is also the immediate participant of the mental processes.

The study of the natural processes of the organism development in physiological and, to a great degree, in pathological states begins to discover the hormonal basis for mental processes accompanying these states. In endocrinologic practice there is the so-named "phenomenon of the functional dwarfism". The child who is always treated with indignity in his family, i.e. is humiliated, offended, and comminated, stops to grow. Such children have the decreased level of the growth hormone, and the administration of somatotropin doesn't lead to the desirable effect. Only change of oppressing scene for more propitious one, and normalization of psychological situation results in increase of the growth rate of the child.

Reticulolimbic structures of brain contain the receptors of corticosteroids, hormones of adaptation, these structures being the morphologic substratum of emotional reactions and coordinating the hypothalamic regulation of corticotropic hypophysial function. The selective, differential effect of corticosteroids on the functional state and interrelationship of hypothalamus and reticulolimbic structures of the brain is directed on both sustaining of homeostasis in hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal cortex system, and on the formation of adaptive behaviour in reactions of fear and aggression.

Hormones have ambiguous effect on mind, their influence being considerably dependent on the initial psychological state of the person. Thus, when glucocorticoids were administered with therapeutic aim, the reinforcement of original psychological state was observed in patients.

Many peptide hormones – thyroliberin, vasopressin, oxytocin, leucin-enkephalin, AKTH etc. – have antidepressant action and a positive effect on memory functioning. But everything is not so clear-cut: many effects depend on the dosage and the initial state.

Investigation of the roles of hormones in the mechanisms of emotional reactions, behaviour, memory, learning and motivation is of current interest and has further perspectives.



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