Scientists led a rat to the fatty food, but they couldn’t make it eat. Using an animal model of binge eating, University of Missouri researchers discovered that deactivating the basolateral amygdala, a brain region involved in regulating emotion, specifically blocked consumption of a fatty diet. Surprisingly, it had no effect on the rat wanting to look for the food repeatedly.
“It appears that two different brain circuits control the motivation to seek and consume,” said Matthew Will, assistant professor of psychological sciences in the MU College of Arts and Science and investigator in the Christopher S. Bond Life Sciences Center. “Understanding how this circuit in the brain works may provide insight into the exact networks and chemicals in our brain that determine the factors influencing our feeding habits.”
The release of opioids, pleasure chemicals that can lead to euphoria, into the brain produces binge eating in non-hungry rats. Will and his team of researchers determined that deactivating the basolateral amygdala blocked this type of binge eating.
“A key to curbing the obesity epidemic in America is controlling the desire to binge eat,” Will said. “Humans have more programming to start and continue eating than to stop eating, especially when they have a bowl of ice cream in front of them. Most of us would finish it even if we weren’t hungry.”
Deactivating the basolateral amygdala had no effect on feeding in rats that were simply deprived of food for 24 hours. This suggests that the basolateral amygdala is specifically involved in the overconsumption of food based on its palatability or pleasure driven by opioids, rather than the level of hunger.
“The finding that the basolateral amygdala only appears involved in the opioid produced consumption was the most surprising part of the study,” Will said. “Normally, if a rat stops eating, they will go lay down and take it easy. In this case, they showed all signs of still wanting to eat, but didn’t.”
In the past when food availability was scarce, humans may have needed this “binge eating” regulation to eat enough food when it was available. Now, when humans have access to foods high in sugar and fat 24 hours a day, this regulation can cause humans to overeat.
The study, “Behavioral Characterization of Amygdala Involvement in Mediating Intra-Accumbens Opioid-Driven Feeding Behavior,” was published in August in Behavioral Neuroscience.
Kelsey Jackson | EurekAlert!
Not of Divided Mind
19.01.2017 | Hertie-Institut für klinische Hirnforschung (HIH)
CRISPR meets single-cell sequencing in new screening method
19.01.2017 | CeMM Forschungszentrum für Molekulare Medizin der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
19.01.2017 | Earth Sciences
19.01.2017 | Life Sciences
19.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy