Disruption of cue-potentiated feeding in mice with blocked ghrelin signaling
ABSTRACT The peptide hormone ghrelin regulates a variety of eating behaviors. Not only does it potently increase intake of freely-available food, but also shifts food preference toward diets rich in fat, enhances operant responding for food rewards, and induces conditioned place preference for food rewards. Here, we postulated that ghrelin also enables cue-potentiated feeding, in which eating is enhanced upon presentation of a food-conditioned stimulus. To test this hypothesis, a novel cue-potentiated feeding protocol adapted for use in mice was designed and validated, and then the effects of pharmacologic ghrelin receptor (GHSR) antagonism and GHSR transcriptional blockade (as occurs in GHSR-null mice) were assessed. Sated C57BL/6J mice indeed demonstrated cue-potentiated intake of grain-based pellets specifically upon presentation of a positive conditioned stimulus (CS+) but not a negative conditioned stimulus (CS-). Treatment with a GHSR antagonist blocked potentiated feeding in sated C57BL/6J mice in response to the CS+. In contrast, while GHSR-null mice also lacked a potentiation of feeding specifically in response to the CS+, they displayed an enhanced intake of pellets in response to both the positive and negative conditioned stimuli. The pattern of immediate early gene expression within the basolateral amygdala - a brain region previously linked to cue-potentiated feeding - paralleled the observed behavior of these mice, suggesting uncharacteristic activation of the amygdala in response to negative conditioned stimuli in GHSR-null mice as compared to wild-type littermates. Thus, although the observed disruptions in cue-potentiated feeding are different depending upon whether GHSR activity or GHSR expression is blocked, a key role for GHSRs in establishing a specific positive cue-food association has now been established.
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ABSTRACT: Animals use current, past, and projected future states of the organism and the world in a finely tuned system to control ingestion. They must not only deal effectively with current nutrient deficiencies, but also manage energy resources to meet future needs, all within the constraints of the mechanisms of metabolism. Many recent approaches to understanding the control of ingestive behavior distinguish between homeostatic mechanisms concerned with energy balance, and hedonic and incentive processes based on palatability and reward characteristics of food. In this review, I consider how learning about environmental cues influences homeostatic and hedonic brain signals, which may lead to increases in the affective taste properties of food and desire to over consume. Understanding these mechanisms may be critical for elucidating the etiology of the obesity epidemic.Trends in Neurosciences 01/2013; 36(2). DOI:10.1016/j.tins.2013.01.002 · 12.90 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The motivation to eat is driven by a complex sum of physiological and non-physiological influences computed by the brain. Physiological signals that inform the brain about energy and nutrient needs are the primary drivers, but environmental signals unrelated to energy balance also control appetite and eating. The two components could act in concert to support the homeostatic regulation of food intake. Often, however, environmental influences rival physiological control and stimulate eating irrespective of satiety, or inhibit eating irrespective of hunger. If persistent, such maladaptive challenges to the physiological system could lead to dysregulated eating and ultimately to eating disorders. Nevertheless, the brain mechanisms underlying environmental contribution in the control of food intake are poorly understood. This paper provides an overview in recent advances in deciphering the critical brain systems using rodent models for environmental control by learned cues. These models use associative learning to compete with the physiological control, and in one preparation food cues stimulate a meal despite satiety, while in another preparation fear cues stop a meal despite hunger. Thus far, four forebrain regions have been identified as part of the essential cue induced feeding circuitry. These are telencephalic areas critical for associative learning, memory encoding, and decision making, the amygdala, hippocampus and prefrontal cortex and the lateral hypothalamus, which functions to integrate feeding, reward, and motivation. This circuitry also engages two orexigenic peptides, ghrelin and orexin. A parallel amygdalar circuitry supports fear cue cessation of feeding. These findings illuminate the brain mechanisms underlying environmental control of food intake and might be also relevant to aspects of human appetite and maladaptive overeating and undereating.Physiology & Behavior 04/2013; 121. DOI:10.1016/j.physbeh.2013.03.024 · 3.03 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Ghrelin is an orexigenic peptide hormone produced mainly by a distinct group of dispersed endocrine cells located within the gastric oxyntic mucosa. Besides secreted gene products derived from the preproghrelin gene, which include acyl-ghrelin, desacyl-ghrelin and obestatin, ghrelin cells also synthesize the secreted protein nesfatin-1. The main goal of the current study was to identify other proteins secreted from ghrelin cells. An initial gene chip screen using mRNAs derived from highly enriched pools of mouse gastric ghrelin cells demonstrated high levels of serum retinol-binding protein (RBP4) and transthyretin (TTR), both of which are known to circulate in the bloodstream bound to each other. This high expression was confirmed by quantitative RT-PCR using as template mRNA derived from the enriched gastric ghrelin cell pools and from two ghrelin-producing cell lines (SG-1 and PG-1). RBP4 protein also was shown to be secreted into the culture medium of ghrelin cell lines. Neither acute nor chronic caloric restriction had a significant effect on RBP4 mRNA levels within stomachs of C57BL/6J mice, although both manipulations significantly decreased stomach TTR mRNA levels. In vitro studies using PG-1 cells showed no effect on RBP4 release of octanoic acid, epinephrine or norepinephrine, all of which are known to act directly on ghrelin cells to stimulate ghrelin secretion. These data provide new insights into ghrelin cell physiology, and given the known functions of RBP4 and TTR, support an emerging role for the ghrelin cell in blood glucose handling and metabolism.PLoS ONE 06/2013; 8(6):e64882. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0064882 · 3.53 Impact Factor