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Unit information: Neuroendocrinology in 2019/20

Please note: Due to alternative arrangements for teaching and assessment in place from 18 March 2020 to mitigate against the restrictions in place due to COVID-19, information shown for 2019/20 may not always be accurate.

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Neuroendocrinology
Unit code MEDIM7004
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Dr. O'Carroll
Open unit status Not open




School/department Bristol Medical School
Faculty Faculty of Health Sciences


The students are given a background in Neuroendocrinology with emphasis on: Interconnections of the endocrine and nervous systems; Hypothalamus; Anterior pituitary hormones; Stress.

The Aims and Objectives of this Unit are to provide an introduction to the neuroendocrine systems of the body. In addition, there will be a consideration of the neuroendocrine and immune systems and their relevance to disease. While basic research will be presented, this will be done within a framework of the clinical relevance of these systems.

This Unit will specifically describe:

  1. The regulatory interactions between brain and periphery;
  2. Anatomy of the hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenal;
  3. Hypothalamic releasing factors;
  4. The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and stress;
  5. Neurohypophysial hormones (vasopressin and oxytocin);
  6. Neuroendocrine disorders and tumours;
  7. The brain and the immune system;
  8. Anterior pituitary hormones;
  9. The hypothalamo-pituitary-thyroid axis;
  10. The hypothalamo-pituitary-gonadal axis and sex steroid hormones.

Intended learning outcomes

At the end of this Unit students will have gained a good understanding of the anatomy and physiology of the major components of the neuroendocrine systems and will be able to integrate this knowledge in a coherent manner.

Teaching details

This unit is taught through lectures. Tutorials may be given to further illustrate and discuss the unit subjects.

Assessment Details

This unit is assessed through:

  • a 3,000-word essay (50%)
  • 1 MCQ exam (50%)

A formative set of MCQ questions will be provided to aid understanding of neuroendocrinology.

Reading and References

Selected relevant review papers from the literature.