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December 15, 1951


JAMA. 1951;147(16):1574. doi:10.1001/jama.1951.03670330066020

A functional relationship between the hypothalamus and the neurohypophysis has been generally accepted since Ransom and his associates1 showed that interruption of the supraoptic hypophysial tract leads to retrograde degeneration of the cells of the supraoptic and paraventricular nuclei, atrophy of the neurohypophysis, and diabetes insipidus. In contrast, the question as to whether the hypothalamus exerts control over the anterior lobe of the pituitary is still highly controversial. While it is generally agreed that few if any of the nerve fibers of the supraoptic hypophysial tract penetrate into the anterior lobe, some investigators feel that the hypothalamus exercises control over the anterior pituitary by liberating a humoral agent that is transmitted by the hypophysial portal blood supply.2 Others, however, have questioned this concept, postulating that loss of anterior function following destruction of the portal system may be due to cellular destruction secondary to ischemia rather than to interruption