News Release 

Researchers identify new hunger pathway in the brain

Research improves understanding of food intake regulation

Society for Neuroscience

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IMAGE: Fluorescent calcium imaging of neurons in the hypothalamus. view more 

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 pathway in the hypothalamus that affects food intake and body weight 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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Manuscript title: GABAergic Inputs to POMC Neurons Originating from the Dorsomedial Hypothalamus are Regulated by Energy State

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About JNeurosci

JNeurosci, the Society for Neuroscience's first journal, was launched in 1981 as a means to communicate the findings of the highest quality neuroscience research to the growing field. Today, the journal remains committed to publishing cutting-edge neuroscience that will have an immediate and lasting scientific impact, while responding to authors' changing publishing needs, representing breadth of the field and diversity in authorship.

About The Society for Neuroscience

The Society for Neuroscience is the world's largest organization of scientists and physicians devoted to understanding the brain and nervous system. The nonprofit organization, founded in 1969, now has nearly 37,000 members in more than 90 countries and over 130 chapters worldwide.

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