What is Neuroendocrinology?

"Neuro" is the study of the brain and nervous system. "Endocrinology" is the study of hormones. Neuroendocrinology, therefore, is the study of interactions between hormones and the brain, primarily how hormones affect behavior.

Hormones are essentially chemical messengers that transport signals from one cell to another in the body. Different hormones have different functions. They may stimulate growth, change our mood, regulate metabolism, control the reproductive cycle, prepare the body for a new phase such as puberty or menopause, and so on. When hormone levels are abnormal, signs of abnormal behavior and illness will arise – e.g., epileptic seizures, depression, weight gain. 

Because hormones affect so many of the systems in our minds and bodies, neuroendocrinology combines elements from different disciplines, including obstetrics & gynecology, psychiatry, endocrinology and behavioral neurology. Doctors in these specialties often refer cases to a neuroendocrinologist for a closer examination of hormonal causes.

Professor Bruce McEwen: Neuroendocrinology is the study of how the brain regulates the hormone system of the body, but in a certain sense it also includes the other things that the brain regulates, such as the autonomic nervous system, and even the immune system, or at least the so-called cytokines, or immune system hormones. The idea is that the brain regulates, stimulates the production – helps to determine the shutoff of the production – of these systems, such as cortisol (a stress hormone) or adrenaline (the other stress hormone). But it also influences the production of inflammatory molecules, and, of course, it regulates sex hormones, growth hormone, many hormones that have, it turns out, effects back on the brain, because it’s not just a one-way street. The brain regulates the production of these substances, and they have ways of affecting brain function, both in the short-term and the long-term.


What is neuroendocrinology (

Neuroendocrinology (Wikipedia) (

Neuroendocrine (Wikipedia)

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