MAR 07, 2015 12:32 AM PST

Neurons that control hunger can multitask

In the absence of food, neurons that normally control appetite initiate complex, repetitive behaviors seen in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and anorexia nervosa, according to a new study by Yale School of Medicine researchers.
Artist's rendering of a neuron
The findings are published in the March 5 online issue of the journal Cell.

Neural circuits are responsible for flexible goal-oriented behaviors. The Yale team investigated how a population of neurons in the hypothalamus that control food intake are also involved in other behaviors. Known as Agrp neurons, these cells also control repetitive, stereotypic behaviors in mice when food is not available, the researchers discovered.

The team tested the behavior of mice after the Agrp neurons were activated. They found that in the absence of food, mice engaged in repetitive such as grooming and marble burying. They further demonstrated that these behaviors were goal-oriented and not related to anxiety.

Source: phys.org
About the Author
  • I'm a writer living in the Boston area. My interests include cancer research, cardiology and neuroscience. I want to be part of using the Internet and social media to educate professionals and patients in a collaborative environment.
You May Also Like
NOV 19, 2019
Cell & Molecular Biology
NOV 19, 2019
Neurons That Keep us Awake During the Day are Destroyed by Alzheimer's
Alzheimer’s disease is a devastating degenerative disorder thought to affect around 5.5 million Americans, most of whom are over the age of 65....
NOV 19, 2019
Immunology
NOV 19, 2019
New Observations of a Cancer Transcriptase
New research shows a transcriptase that helps time cell death varies in expression, and is unusually localized, in cancer cells.  The transcriptase, T...
NOV 19, 2019
Immunology
NOV 19, 2019
Circadian Rhythm Governs Immune Protection of the Gut
The circadian rhythm governs more than just waking and sleeping. The intricate functions of the digestive system rely on the ticking, clock-like rhythm as ...
NOV 19, 2019
Cell & Molecular Biology
NOV 19, 2019
New Technique Can Trace the Activity of Individual Neurons
Researchers are learning more about why bright light wakes us up....
NOV 19, 2019
Cardiology
NOV 19, 2019
Meal Timing May Have a Profound Influence on Your Workout
A new study, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, sought to examine the relationship between meal timing, fat storage, and in...
NOV 19, 2019
Cell & Molecular Biology
NOV 19, 2019
Researchers Explore the Electricity-Conducting Power of Proteins
Researchers have known that proteins can insulate electrical flow, but their power as conductors has only recently been recognized....
Loading Comments...