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A flip switch for binge-eating?

Date:
May 25, 2017
Source:
American Association for the Advancement of Science
Summary:
Researchers have identified a subgroup of neurons in the mouse brain that, upon activation, immediately prompt binge-like eating.
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Researchers have identified a subgroup of neurons in the mouse brain that, upon activation, immediately prompt binge-like eating. Furthermore, repeated stimulation of these neurons over time caused the mice to gain weight. The zona incerta (ZI) is a relatively understudied part of the brain.

Intriguingly, patients receiving deep brain stimulation of the subthalamus, which includes the ZI, for the treatment of movement disorders can exhibit characteristics of binge eating. To explore this phenomenon in greater detail, Xiaobing Zhang and Anthony N. van den Pol optogenetically labelled GABA neurons in the ZIs of mice.

They found that stimulating ZI GABA neurons with axons extending into the paraventricular thalamus (PVT) prompted immediate binge-like eating, just two to three seconds after stimulation. Within ten minutes of continuous ZI GABA stimulation, mice rapidly consumed 35% of their daily high-fat food store, meant to be eaten over a 24-hour period.

The researchers also found that ghrelin, a hormone that signals a reduced energy state in the gut, excited ZI GABA neurons. Upon stimulating the subgroup of ZI neurons for five minutes every three hours over a period of two weeks, the mice significantly increased their food intake, and gained weight.

Yet, once photostimulation was over, the mice showed a significantly reduced food intake compared with that of controls.

Lastly, the authors found that stimulation of excitatory axons from the parasubthalamic nucleus to PVT or direct stimulation of glutamate neurons in the PVT reduced food intake.


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Materials provided by American Association for the Advancement of Science. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Xiaobing Zhang, Anthony N. van den Pol. Rapid binge-like eating and body weight gain driven by zona incerta GABA neuron activation. Science, 2017; 356 (6340): 853 DOI: 10.1126/science.aam7100

Cite This Page:

American Association for the Advancement of Science. "A flip switch for binge-eating?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 May 2017. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/05/170525141553.htm>.
American Association for the Advancement of Science. (2017, May 25). A flip switch for binge-eating?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 12, 2024 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/05/170525141553.htm
American Association for the Advancement of Science. "A flip switch for binge-eating?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/05/170525141553.htm (accessed April 12, 2024).

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