Food and Behaviour Research

Donate Log In

Identification of a neurocircuit underlying regulation of feeding by stress-related emotional responses

Xu Y, Lu Y, Cassidy RM, Mangieri LR, Zhu C, Huang X, Jiang Z, Justice NJ, Xu Y, Arenkiel BR, Tong Q (2019) Nat Commun.  2019 Aug;10(1): 3446. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-11399-z. 

Web URL: Read this and related abstracts on PubMed here


Feeding is known to be profoundly affected by stress-related emotional states and eating disorders are comorbid with psychiatric symptoms and altered emotional responses.

The neural basis 
underlying feeding regulation by stress-related emotional changes is poorly understood. Here, we identify a novel projection from the paraventricular hypothalamus (PVH) to the ventral lateral septum (LSv) that shows a scalable regulation on feeding and behavioral changes related to emotion. Weak photostimulation of glutamatergic PVH→LSv terminals elicits stress-related self-grooming and strong photostimulation causes fear-related escape jumping associated with respective weak and strong inhibition on feeding.

In contrast, inhibition of glutamatergic inputs to LSv increases 
feeding with signs of reduced anxiety. LSv-projecting neurons are concentrated in rostral PVH. LSv and LSv-projecting PVH neurons are activated by stressors in vivo, whereas feeding bouts were associated with reduced activity of these neurons.

Thus, PVH→LSv neurotransmission underlies dynamic 
feeding by orchestrating emotional states, providing a novel neural circuit substrate underlying comorbidity between eating abnormalities and psychiatric disorders.


See the associated news article: