The neuroendocrine reflex describes how sensory neurons in the periphery become activated in response to certain stimuli, which then feedback to the hypothalamus and excite the hormone-releasing neurons which have their axon terminals in the posterior pituitary. Oxytocin and vasopressin are released in this way in response to various triggers. For example, an infant suckling at the mother’s breast will cause sensory feedback to oxytocin-producing neurons in the posterior pituitary, resulting in oxytocin release by exocytosis from the nerve terminals.
ADH (vasopressin) is secreted in response to increased blood osmolarity and results in greater retention of water as well as constriction of blood vessels.
ADH affects the kidney by stimulating water retention. This changes blood osmolarity. It can also can simulate the arterioles into contracting which raises blood pressure.
Oxytocin is a mammalian hormone that plays a role in sexual reproduction during and after childbirth.
Oxytocin coordinates contraction of uterine smooth muscle during the second and third stages of labor.
Oxytocin causes the mammary glands to contract and release milk in response to stimulation of the nipples during breastfeeding.
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