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Hormones and the Nervous System


Admission requirements

Completing the course “Introduction in the Neurosciences” is essential before enrolling in the course “Hormones & the Nervous System”.


This course is about neuroscience and endocrinology, interrelated fields that deal with communication between cells, organs, and organisms. The brain is a source and recipient of neural and endocrine signals. Neuronal and endocrine signalling molecules interact at many levels to produce integrated behavioural, cognitive, emotions, autonomic, and endocrine responses. Hormones and neurotransmitters regulate energy- and electrolyte homeostasis, reproduction, and dealing with stressors, in the interplay with genetic factors. Insight in endocrine and neuronal signalling is highly relevant for pharmacological targets in endocrine disease and psychopathology.
‘Textbook knowledge’ is acquired via instruction lectures, reading, and interactive classes. Daily ‘Special Topics’ brought by specialists in the field add focus on new developments.

Course objectives

The student will be able to:

  • explore trajectories from gene expression to the functioning of the organism in its environment, thereby using the signalling molecules, receptors and signalling pathways involved;

  • illustrate how the environment affects gene expression, development, and ultimately, health and vulnerability for disease;

  • explain how drugs affect neural and endocrine signalling pathways;

  • understand, summarize and explain a novel topic in this research area to a large audience.

Mode of instruction

Per subject: instruction lecture, self-study, interactive class, special topic (all plenary)
Practical Training (2 days);
Literature assignment including; presentation at symposium (integrated with line CIS);
Excursion to pharmaceutical company.

Assessment method

Day tests (open questions; open book) – 30%
Literature assignment – 10%
Final examination (open questions) – 60%

Reading list

  • H.P. Rang et al. Pharmacology, 7th edition.

  • M.F. Bear, Connors & Paradiso; Neuroscience, Exploring the Brain.

  • W.F Boron et al, Medical Physiology, 2nd edition.

  • B. Alberts et al. Molecular Biology of the The Cell.

  • J.B. Becker et al. Behavioral Endocrinology.