A recent study has been able to identify the genes involved with various functions from the hypothalamus. In the news article “Researchers Use Model of Hypothalamus to Implicate Genes Associated with Sleep, BMI, Puberty, and More,” a research study was conducted by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to determine the genes that are responsible for functions like sleep, BMI, and puberty within the brain. The hypothalamus is located in the center of the brain and is part of the limbic system. It is responsible for releasing hormones throughout the body, body temperature, reproduction, sleep, hunger, thirst, etc. Since it is located in the middle of the brain it can be difficult to study the genes that work to provide proper function to the body. In order to find these specific genes, a model had to be used to be able to further examine the different components of the hypothalamus.
The research team used an embryonic stem cell model to investigate the gene expression in the hypothalamus. It provided them with the information on the genes before the hypothalamus has developed and even afterwards. The team was able to discover that the gene BDNF is responsible for body mass index while the gene PER2 is involved with sleep regulation. This particular research will help us understand the many functions of the hypothalamus but also the abnormalities that can occur within this part of the brain.
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