Sci. STKE, 1 November 2005
PHYSIOLOGY Appetite and the Adaptive Brain
Appetite and energy balance are regulated by the hypothalamic region of the brain, and considerable progress has been made in defining the underlying neural circuitry. Two studies underscore the emerging idea that these feeding circuits are not firmly "hardwired" but rather exhibit remarkable plasticity, even in adults. Luquet et al. show that specific neurons that are strictly required for the regulation of food intake in adult mice can be removed without detriment in newborn mice, which suggests that the feeding circuitry can readily adapt to change early in life. Kokoeva et al. make the surprising observation that a neurotrophic factor that induces sustained weight loss in adult mice does so by stimulating the proliferation of hypothalamic neurons. Pharmacological inhibition of this neurogenesis compromised the capacity of the neurotrophic factor to induce long-term weight loss. Hypothalamic plasticity thus adds another potentially important layer of complexity to the regulation of body weight.
Citation: Appetite and the Adaptive Brain. Sci. STKE 2005, tw386 (2005).
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