Scientists find brain cells that drive us to eat fat, sugar

Scientists find brain cells that drive us to eat fat, sugar

New Delhi, Oct 28: A team of researchers has identified the brain cells that trigger hedonic eating, a development that could provide a basis for new anti-obesity treatments.

Often poor dietary choices and maladaptive eating behavior such as hedonic eating – eating when not hungry – and the lack of physical activity result in obesity.

During a recent study, that was published in Nature Neuroscience and reported by Medical News Today, scientists discovered that a group of neurons in the amygdala, a part of the brain involved in experiencing emotions and decision-making, may also trigger hedonic eating.

“The identification of the neuronal substrates mediating overeating could provide new molecular targets for devising new anti-obesity treatments,” said Alessandro Furlan, Assistant Professor at the Department of Neuroscience at Karolinska Institutet, Sweden, and one of the study authors.

As part of the study, the researchers conducted several experiments on mice when they observed the neuronal behavior of the rodents in response to eating regular chow and also a high-fat diet (HFD) after food restriction.

After an HFD, but not chow, the researchers noticed higher activity levels among certain neurons in a part of the amygdala known as the interstitial nucleus of the posterior limb of the anterior commissure (IPAC).

The findings indicated that certain neurons of the IPAC may be activated following the consumption of palatable food. Further demonstrations revealed that these IPAC neurons could also be activated in the presence of fatty and sugary food and smell in the absence of hunger.




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