Researchers identify new hunger pathway in the brain

Researchers identify new hunger pathway in the brain
Fluorescent calcium imaging of neurons in the hypothalamus. Credit: Andrew Rau et al., JNeurosci 2019

A newly identified hunger pathway in the brain can quickly modify food intake in the presence of food, according to a study of mice published in JNeurosci. This pathway could be a future target for the treatment of eating disorders.

Food intake is modified by long-term signals such as hormones and molecules released during digestion, but a newly recognized circuit in the hypothalamus can change feeding behavior on a shorter timescale.

Using fluorescent calcium imaging and electrophysiological recording, Shane Hentges and Andrew Rau at Colorado State University identified a in the hypothalamus that affects and through release of the neurotransmitter GABA, which can occur due to the detection, rather than consumption, of food.

The researchers found that food-deprived mice exhibited more GABA-related neuron activity, indicating that temporary energy states can directly affect feeding behavior. The knowledge of this pathway improves our understanding of how the brain controls energy balance.


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More information: GABAergic Inputs to POMC Neurons Originating from the Dorsomedial Hypothalamus are Regulated by Energy State, JNeurosci (2019). DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3193-18.2019
Journal information: Journal of Neuroscience

Citation: Researchers identify new hunger pathway in the brain (2019, June 24) retrieved 17 August 2019 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2019-06-hunger-pathway-brain.html
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