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In mammals, the hypothalamus is a region of the brain located below the thalamus, forming the major portion of the ventral region of the diencephalon and functioning to regulate certain metabolic processes and other autonomic activities.

The hypothalamus links the nervous system to the endocrine system by synthsizing and secreting neurohormones, often called releasing hormones, as needed that control the secretion of hormones from the anterior pituitary gland — among them, gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH).

The neurons that secrete GnRH are linked to the limbic system, which is very involved in the control of emotions and sexual activity.

The hypothalamus also controls body temperature, hunger and thirst, and circadian cycles.

Note:   The above text is excerpted from the Wikipedia article "Hypothalamus", which has been released under the GNU Free Documentation License.
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