Eating for hunger or pleasure involves regulating different brain circuits
Looking to contribute to the development of effective treatments for obesity, an international team led by researchers at Baylor College of Medicine, in the US, investigated in an animal model how the brain regulates feeding triggered by hunger or other factors.
The team discovered that although the brain regulates both types of feeding behavior through serotonin-producing neurons in the midbrain, each type of feeding is wired by its own independent circuit that does not influence the other type of feeding.
The researchers also identified two serotonin receptors and two ion channels that can affect the feeding behaviors, opening the possibility that modulating their activities might help regulate overeating.
The findings have encouraged the researchers to conduct future studies to identify more molecules that could modulate the activity of the ion channels to produce anti-overeating effects.