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How do the nervous system and endocrine system work together?

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Quick Answer

The nervous system and endocrine system work together and are linked by the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is a tiny collection of nuclei responsible for maintaining, stimulating and inhibiting many of the body's key processes.

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Full Answer

The endocrine system influences almost every cell, organ and function of the body. It plays a central role in mood regulation, growth and development, tissue function, metabolism, sexual function and reproductive processes. The autonomic nervous system functions without the body's awareness or control. The hypothalamus receives information and is involved in a number of functions of the nervous system. The hypothalamus is the part of the brain that maintains homeostasis within the body. To achieve this, the hypothalamus must receive inputs about the state of the body, and must be able to initiate changes if an imbalance occurs.

It also controls the pituitary glands, which are responsible for producing hormones that start and stop the production of other hormones within the body. The primary hormones secreted by the hypothalamus include anti-diuretic hormone, corticotropin-releasing hormone, gonadotropin-releasing hormone, growth hormone-releasing hormone, growth hormone-inhibiting hormone, oxytocin, prolactin-releasing hormone and thyrotropin-releasing hormone. It plays a central role in key processes within the body, such as sleep, thirst, hunger, sex and emotional and stress responses.

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