The lateral hypothalamus (LH) is a region of the hypothalamus, a small region of the brain located just above the brainstem that plays a key role in regulating various physiological functions, such as hunger, thirst, sleep, and arousal.
In the context of hunger and eating, the LH is often referred to as the “feeding center.” Stimulation of the LH can trigger feelings of hunger, while inhibition of the LH can cause feelings of satiety. Conversely, the ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH) is often referred to as the “satiety center,” as stimulation of the VMH can cause feelings of satiety, while inhibition of the VMH can trigger feelings of hunger.
In the context of sleep and arousal, the LH is involved in the regulation of wakefulness and alertness. Lesions of the LH in animal studies have been shown to cause drowsiness and sleepiness, while stimulation of the LH can promote wakefulness and alertness.
It is important to note that the LH and VMH are not isolated regions, but are part of a complex network of brain regions that work together to regulate hunger, thirst, sleep, and arousal. This regulation is influenced by various internal and external factors, such as hormones, neurotransmitters, and environmental cues.