The blood-brain barrier is generally attributed to endothelial cells. However, in circumventricular organs, such as the median eminence, tanycytes take over the barrier function. These ependymoglial cells form the wall of the third ventricle and send long extensions into the parenchyma to contact blood vessels and hypothalamic neurons. The shape and location of tanycytes put them in an ideal position to connect the periphery with central nervous compartments. In line with this, tanycytes control the transport of hormones and key metabolites in and out of the hypothalamus. They function as sensors of peripheral homeostasis for central regulatory networks. This chapter discusses current evidence that tanycytes play a key role in regulating glucose balance, food intake, endocrine axes, seasonal changes, reproductive function, and aging. The understanding of how tanycytes perform these diverse tasks is only just beginning to emerge and will probably lead to a more differentiated view of how the brain and the periphery interact.

Original languageEnglish
JournalHandbook of Clinical Neurology
Pages (from-to)253-273
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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