Session: S47-Food Addiction
Room 301 (Moscone Center)
The neuropeptide neurotensin (Nts) limits motivated feeding, suggesting a role for Nts signaling in the regulation of energy balance. Disruption of Nts signaling promotes preference for calorie-dense food and promotes weight gain, but the neuronal pathways linking Nts action and feeding remained unclear. We are characterizing the role of Nts-containing neurons in the lateral hypothalamic area (LHA), many of which also co-express the long form of the leptin receptor (LepRb). LHA Nts neurons project to, and regulate, the mesolimbic dopamine system and motivated behaviors, including feeding, drinking and locomotor activity. Interestingly, LHA Nts neurons are activated by diverse metabolic stimuli, including leptin, dehydration-anorexia or inflammatory signals. We suggest that LHA Nts neurons integrate metabolic need and motivated behavior to resolve energy imbalance, and disruption of this pathway may promote obesity.