Pinpointing the neurons that signal hunger in mice

Steve Beger [creativecommons license] via Wikimedia Commons

Organisms must feed in order to meet their nutritional requirements. In humans, dysfunctional feeding behavior can take the form of destructive eating disorders including anorexia, bulimia, overeating and addiction. Feeding behavior comprises discrete elements that include motivation (or hunger) and consumption. Understanding the neurological pathways that underlie these elements could provide mechanistic insight into the causes of eating disorders, but identifying the neural processes associated with hunger and consumption has proven challenging. As global research initiatives have encouraged the development of new technologies to study the brain, advanced biological imaging techniques have become more widely available. Scientists led by Garret Stuber (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) recently applied innovative bioimaging technology to identify specific neurons that are activated in the brains of mice in conjunction with hunger and with consumption.

Lab Anim. (NY) 44, 43 (2015).
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