Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Hypothalamus and Eating

Researchers at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, have done studies reinforcing that eating is controlled in the brain, directed by the lateral hypothalamus in particular. They have also identified specific cell populations within the Hypothalamus that appear to work like the gas pedal and the brake in a vehicle (to use that metaphor). For example: a group of LH GABAergic (Vgat-expressing) neurons enhances both appetitive and consummatory behaviors. When these neurons are inactivated, appetitive and consummatory behaviors decrease. Although these cell groups appear to live right next door to each other in the brain, each primarily appears to be responsible for one or the other of these behaviors (eating or not eating) but rarely both. This points out yet again the complexity of the brain.


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