The activity of several brain areas governing human feeding behaviour is modulated by levels of a single gut hormone in the blood. This insight into the circuits that regulate feeding may help further our understanding of the neurobiology - and possibly treatment - of obesity.
The pleasure of eating is strongly affected by satiety, which may reflect interactions between homeostatic regulation and reward or other cognitive factors. In a study published online in Nature, Rachel L. Batterham and colleagues use functional magnetic resonance imaging to study how the activity of brain areas correlates with subsequent feeding behaviour under different satiety states evoked by intravenous administration of PYY, a gut-derived peptide. Under high PYY conditions, mimicking the fed state, changes in orbitofrontal cortex activation better predict subsequent feeding, whereas, in low PYY conditions, activation in the hypothalamus predicts food intake.
These results shed light on the human brain networks that may regulate food intake under different satiety states. An increased understanding of how the functions of each area are integrated may pave the way for the development of new treatment strategies for obesity.
Rachel L. Batterham (University College London, UK)
(C) Nature press release.
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