Tanycytes, glial-like cells that line the third ventricle, are emerging as components of the hypothalamic networks that control body weight and energy balance. They contact the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and send processes that come into close contact with neurons in the arcuate and ventromedial hypothalamic nuclei. Tanycytes are glucosensitive and are able to respond to transmitters associated with arousal and the drive to feed. At least some tanycytes are stem cells and, in the median eminence, may be stimulated by diet to generate new neurons. The quest is on to understand how tanycytes detect and respond to changes in energy balance and how they communicate with the rest of the nervous system to effect their functions.
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