Peptide-secreting cells of the hypothalamic-hypophyseal circuits originally were described as neurosecretory cells, receiving synaptic information from other central neurons, yet secreting transmitters in a hormone-like fashion into the circulation. The transmitter released from such neurons was termed a neurohormone, i.e., a substance secreted into the blood by a neuron. These hypothalamic neurons also may form traditional synapses with central neurons, and cytochemi-cal evidence indicates that the same substances that are secreted as hormones from the posterior pituitary (oxytocin, arginine-vasopressin; see Chapters 29 and 55) mediate transmission at these sites. Thus, the designation hormone relates to the release at the posterior pituitary and does not necessarily describe all actions of the peptide.

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