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Keywords:

  • human;
  • hypothalamus;
  • neocortex;
  • pulse generator;
  • sleep;
  • slow potentials

Abstract

An essential function of the neuroendocrine system lies in the coordination of hypothalamo-pituitary secretory activity with neocortical neuronal activity. Cortical direct current (DC) potential shifts and EEG were monitored in conjunction with the circulating concentration of luteinizing hormone (LH) in humans while asleep to assess a hypothalamic–neocortical interaction. The onset of an LH pulse was accompanied (i) at frontocortical locations by a transient positive DC potential shift of ≈ 3 min duration and peak amplitude 50 μV; (ii) at frontal and central locations by an increase in power of infra-slow EEG oscillations for periodicities between 64 and 320 s. Results uniquely demonstrate a coupling of hypothalamo-pituitary activity with regulation of neocortical excitability.