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.

Explore further

Afraid of food? The answer may be in the basal forebrain

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 5 October 2022 from
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Feedback to editors