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Example text

Unlike most neurosecretory cells of the arthropods, those of the hypothalamus of vertebrates possess dendrites (Fig. 2-16). In fish and aquatic Urodela their axons are not well developed and their function is uncertain; but in all terrestrial vertebrates from the terrestrial Urodela and Anura upwards the axons pass down the infundibular stalk to end in an enlarged neural lobe (pars nervosa). This becomes distinct from the median eminence at the base of the infundibulum and is not present in the lower forms (Fig.

In most vertebrates some of these neurons become modified to secrete relatively enormous amounts of either or both of these substances ; at the same time the cells lose all histological resemblance to ganglion cells (Fig. 2-1/). Their origin and func­ tion is nevertheless the same as that of neurosecretory cells ; but opinion is divided as to whether they should be regarded as such (Welsh, 1955). They are often referred to as "chromaffin" cells, because the contained adrenaline gives a characteristic olive-brown colour with any chromic salts used either as fixative or stain.

The neurosecretory cells are confined to the neurohypophysis, and most of them end in the neural lobe; but some of them make contact with the primary venous plexus in the median eminence. In this way, secretions from the latter can pass into the portal circulation and so to the pars distalis. How much they do so, and whether they affect the rates of hormone secretion from the adenohypophysis, is still a matter for discussion. The vasomotor fibres of the sympathetic nerves follow the course of the hypophysial arteries (Fig.

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