Fibroblast growth factor (FGF) signaling is pivotal to the formation of numerous central regions. Increasing evidence suggests FGF signaling also directs the development of the neuroendocrine hypothalamus, a collection of neuroendocrine neurons originating primarily within the nose and the ventricular zone of the diencephalon. This review outlines evidence for a role of FGF signaling in the prenatal and postnatal development of several hypothalamic neuroendocrine systems. The emphasis is placed on the nasally derived gonadotropin-releasing hormone neurons, which depend on neurotrophic cues from FGF signaling throughout the neurons' lifetime. Although less is known about neuroendocrine neurons derived from the diencephalon, recent studies suggest they also exhibit variable levels of dependence on FGF signaling. Overall, FGF signaling provides a broad spectrum of cues that ranges from genesis, cell survival/death, migration, morphological changes, to hormone synthesis in the neuroendocrine hypothalamus. Abnormal FGF signaling will deleteriously impact multiple hypothalamic neuroendocrine systems, resulting in the disruption of diverse physiological functions.
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