a1 Department of Physiology, Institute of Psychiatry, London
Recent work has shown that the hypothalamic peptides commonly associated with the control of pituitary function have important behavioural actions of possible psychiatric significance. Thus, vasopressin, ACTH and like peptides may influence memory processes, and ACTH and MSH given intracranially induce a peculiar stretching and yawning syndrome accompanied by penile erection and ejaculation. Thyrotrophic hormone-releasing factor potentiates behavioural excitation, somatostatin is depressive, while luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone facilitates sexual behaviour and the newly identified endorphins are markedly opioid in character. These and other activities of the hypothalamic peptides are reviewed and assessed alongside the clinical information available.
c1 Address for correspondence: Professor B.T. Donovan, Department of Physiology, Institute of Psychiatry, De Crespigny Park, Denmark Hill, London SE5 8AF.