Health News – Researchers are examining neurons and hormones associated with eating too much. This study is another step in understanding the brain circuits involved in eating disorders.
In a new study, researchers at the University of Washington School of Medicine examined the function of lateral glutamatergic neurons in mice to better understand what brain circuits are involved in eating disorders.
They identified the brain cells that are located in the lateral hypothalamic area, a region that can regulate motivated behavior, such as feeding. The study showed that the neurons interact with two different brain regions, including the lateral habenula and ventral tegmental area (VTA).
The first region is considered a key region of the brain in the pathophysiology of depression, while the second one has a significant role in motivation, addiction, and reward.
“We found these cells are not a monolithic group, and that different flavors of these cells do different things,” said Garret D. Stuber, senior author of the study published in the journal Neuron.
According to the findings, the neurons located in the lateral habenula were more responsive than those in the VTA when the mice were being fed. It showed that the glutamatergic neurons may play a pivotal role in guiding feeding.
While monitoring the influence of leptin and ghrelin hormones on people’s eating behavior, researchers discovered that leptin blunts the activity of neurons in the lateral habenula and increases the activity of neurons in the VTA, while ghrelin’s does the opposite.
The research result also indicated that the brain circuits involved in controlling feeding partially overlap with the brain circuits involved in drug addiction.
This specific study adds to the growing body of research regarding the role of the brain in obesity, which is a global epidemic according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
To Know More You May Refer To:
Rossi, M. A., Basiri, M. L., Liu, Y., Hashikawa, Y., Hashikawa, K., Fenno, L. E., Kim, Y. S., Ramakrishnan, C., Deisseroth, K., & Stuber, G. D. (2021). Transcriptional and functional divergence in lateral hypothalamic glutamate neurons projecting to the lateral habenula and ventral tegmental area. Neuron. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuron.2021.09.020