Article

Metabolic hormones, dopamine circuits, and feeding.

Department of Neurology, Yale University School of Medicine, USA.
Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology (Impact Factor: 7.99). 10/2009; 31(1):104-12. DOI: 10.1016/j.yfrne.2009.10.004
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Recent evidence has emerged demonstrating that metabolic hormones such as ghrelin and leptin can act on ventral tegmental area (VTA) midbrain dopamine neurons to influence feeding. The VTA is the origin of mesolimbic dopamine neurons that project to the nucleus accumbens (NAc) to influence behavior. While blockade of dopamine via systemic antagonists or targeted gene delete can impair food intake, local NAc dopamine manipulations have little effect on food intake. Notably, non-dopaminergic manipulations in the VTA and NAc produce more consistent effects on feeding and food choice. More recent genetic evidence supports a role for the substantia nigra-striatal dopamine pathways in food intake, while the VTA-NAc circuit is more likely involved in higher-order aspects of food acquisition, such as motivation and cue associations. This rich and complex literature should be considered in models of how peripheral hormones influence feeding behavior via action on the midbrain circuits.

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