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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Deanery of Biomedical Sciences : Biomedical Sciences

Undergraduate Course: Hormones & Behaviour (BIME10020)

Course Outline
SchoolDeanery of Biomedical Sciences CollegeCollege of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course focuses on the regulation of reproduction and energy balance. The brain and the periphery interact in complex neurohormonal networks to control several core, motivated behaviours like eating, drinking, social and sexual behaviour. These behaviours are essential to life, share overlapping control systems and common underlying neurophysiological principles. In addition understanding these systems in health, we will address how these systems are altered in, for example, obesity. The course will be integrative in nature, highlighting commonalities in system control of diverse behaviours.
Course description Most of the behaviours we and other animals engage in are necessary for life or its propagation. Eating is a clear example, as are the social and reproductive behaviours that produce offspring and ensure their care. Many of these core, motivated behaviours are initiated and controlled by complex patterns of neurohormonal signalling that are, in turn, sensitive to the external environment and the body's physiological state.

This course focuses on social, maternal and eating behaviour. These behaviours share overlapping control systems and common underlying neurophysiological principles. In addition understanding these systems in health, we will address how these systems are altered in, for example, obesity. The course will be integrative in nature, highlighting commonalities in system control of diverse behaviours.

In the second half of the course, we will discuss the behavioural roles of oxytocin and vasopressin, two evolutionarily-ancient hormones involved in water balance and maternal and social behaviour, and look at vasopressin's roles in social recognition. We'll also discuss the importance of circadian rhythms and seasonality, and the crucial role of pituitary hormones in a range of behaviours

We will begin by introducing the systems involved in appetite control, with later lectures focusing on crucial appetite-related hormones and their actions in the brain. We will also explore the genetics of obesity and issues around food reward and food addiction
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2016/17, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  28
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 24, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 6, External Visit Hours 4, Formative Assessment Hours 3, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Revision Session Hours 4, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 153 )
Additional Information (Learning and Teaching) None
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 80 %, Coursework 20 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Feedback Feedback will be available throughout the course in many forms:
The instructors will give individual written feedback summarising your formative and summative assessments within 15 working days of the assignment. Written feedback from the final exam will be made available by the course administrator as soon as possible, and an individual, face-to-face feedback session will take place early in semester 2, after ratification of your final mark by the Exam Board
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S1 (December)Hormones & Behaviour1:30
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. To understand how the hypothalamus controls essential physiological behaviours via neuropeptide release in the brain and periphery and via sensitivity to peripherally-released signals.
  2. To understand the central neuronal circuitry involved in these conserved and inter-dependent physiological behaviours.
  3. To understand contemporary approaches to investigating these systems and the scientific controversies surrounding the interpretation of relevant studies.
  4. To develop generic skills - critical analysis of scientific literature, the ability to perform independent library-based research, and the ability to present controversies in a clear and balanced fashion.
Reading List
- Lee, HJ, et al. Oxytocin: the great facilitator of life. Prog Neurobiol 2009; 88(2): 127-151.
- Leng G et al. Neural Control of the Posterior Pituitary Gland (Neurohypophysis). In: Fink G, Pfaff DW, Levine JE, eds. Handbook of Neuroendocrinology. London, Waltham, San Diego: Academic press, Elsevier; 2012:139-156.
- Ludwig M, Leng G. Dendritic neuropeptide release and peptide dependent behaviours. Nat Rev Neurosci 2006; 7(2): 126-136.
- Wacker DW, Ludwig M. Vasopressin, oxytocin and social odour recognition. Hormones & Behaviour 2012; 61: 259-265.

- Burgoyne RD, Morgan A. Secretory granule exocytosis. Physiol Rev. 2003; 83: 581-632.
- Tobin et al. The involvement of actin, calcium channels and exocytosis proteins in somato-dendritic oxytocin and vasopressin release. Front Physiol 2012; 3:261.

- Rossini E., et al. Emergent synchronous bursting of oxytocin neuronal network. PLoS Comput Biol. 2008; 4(7):e1000123.
- Hatton GI, Wang YF. Neural mechanisms underlying the milk ejection burst and reflex. Prog Brain Res. 2008; 170:155-66.

- Castañeda et al. Ghrelin in the regulation of body weight and metabolism. Front Neuroendocrinol. 2010 31(1):44-60.
- Menzies et al. Peripheral signals modifying food reward. Handb Exp Pharmacol. 2012;(209):131-58.
- Menzies et al. Ghrelin, reward and motivation. Endocr Dev. 2013;25:101-11.

- Loos RJ, Yeo GS. The bigger picture of FTO - the first GWAS-identified obesity gene. Nat Rev Endocrinol. 2014 10(1):51-61.
- Yeo GS, Heisler LK. Unraveling the brain regulation of appetite: lessons from genetics. Nat Neurosci. 2012 15(10):1343-9.

- Farooqi IS, O'Rahilly S. Leptin: a pivotal regulator of human energy homeostasis. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 89(3):980S-984S.
- Cottrell EC, Mercer JG. Leptin receptors. Handb Exp Pharmacol. 2012; (209):3-21.

- Jarvis S., et al. Programming the offspring of the pig by prenatal social stress: neuroendocrine activity and behaviour. Horm Behav. 2006; 49(1): 68-80.
- Algers B, Uvnäs-Moberg K. Maternal behavior in pigs. Horm Behav. 2007; 52(1): 78-85.

- Dardente H, Hazlerigg DG, Ebling FJ. Thyroid hormone and seasonal rhythmicity. Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2014; 26:19.
- Rani S, Kumar V. Avian circannual systems: persistence and sex differences. Gen Comp Endocrinol. 2013; 190:61-7.

- Neumann ID, Landgraf R. Balance of brain oxytocin and vasopressin: implications for anxiety, depression, and social behaviors. TINS 2012; 35(11); 649-59.
- Avrabos C, Sotnikov SV, Dine J, Markt PO, Holsboer F, Landgraf R, Eder M. Real-time imaging of amygdalar network dynamics in vitro reveals a neurophysiological link to behavior in a mouse model of extremes in trait anxiety. J Neurosci.2013 Oct 9;33(41):16262-7.

- Chowen JA, Frago LM, Argente J. The regulation of GH secretion by sex steroids. Eur J Endocrinol. 2004; 151 Suppl 3: U95-100.
- Grattan DR, Steyn FJ, Kokay IC, Anderson GM, Bunn SJ. Pregnancy-induced adaptation in the neuroendocrine control of prolactin secretion. J Neuroendocrinol. 2008; 20(4): 497-507.
- Le Tissier PR, Hodson DJ, Lafont C, Fontanaud P, Schaeffer M, Mollard P. Anterior pituitary cell networks. Front Neuroendocrinol. 2012; 33(3):252-66.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Course organiserDr Mike Ludwig
Tel: (0131 6)50 3275
Course secretaryMs Beth Muir
Tel: (0131 6)51 1513
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