Researchers at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center have discovered the location of hunger-inducing neurons and are positive that this discovery will further help in the treatment of obesity.
Neuroendocrinologist Bradford Lowell, has for the past 20 years been studying the neuro-circuits in the brain that underlie hunger, in order to create a wiring diagram to explain the origins of hunger.
One of his key findings in this study has been the discovery of the fact that Agouti-peptide (AgRP) expressing neurons are activated by caloric deficiency. A study conducted on mice showed that when these neurons were naturally or artificially stimulated in mice, they caused the mice to eat ravenously.
Now, in a study published in the journal Nature, Lowell's lab has revealed that the hunger-inducing neurons that activate these AgRP neurons are located in the paraventricular nucleus.
Talking about this discovery Lowell says,
"Surprisingly, these hunger-inducing neurons were found in a region of the brain which has long been thought to have the opposite effect – causing satiety."
"We are getting closer and closer to completing our wiring diagram, and the nearer we come to understanding how it all works, the better our chances of being able to treat obesity and eating disorders, the consequences of abnormal hunger."
The First authors of this new paper, Michael Krashes, PhD, and Bhavik Shah, PhD, researchers in the lab of Bradford Lowell employed an extremely powerful rabies circuit mapping technology in order to pursue this study.