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Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2006 Sep;291(3):R657-63. Epub 2006 Mar 30.

Leptin inhibits swallowing in rats.

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Université Paul Cézanne, Aix Marseille III, Faculté des Sciences et Techniques Campus St Jérôme, Laboratoire de Physiologie Neurovégétative, UMR PNV CNRS-INRA-Université, IFR Jean Roche, 13397 Marseille cedex 20, France.


Swallowing is under the control of premotoneurons located in the medullary solitary tract nucleus. Although rats with transected midbrain do not seek out food, they are able to ingest food present near the mouth, and acute food deprivation induces an increase in food intake. Leptin is a satiety signal that regulates feeding behavior. Because leptin receptors are found within the caudal brainstem, and because food intake is regulated in midbrain transected rats, this study tested the hypothesis that leptin is able to modify the activity of premotoneurons involved in swallowing. Leptin was microinjected at the subpostremal level of the medullary solitary tract nucleus in anesthetized Wistar rats. Electromyographic electrodes in sublingual muscles allowed recording of swallowing induced by stimulation of sensitive fibers of the superior laryngeal nerve. Repeated stimulation induced rhythmic swallowing. Microinjection of leptin (0.1 pg and 0.1 ng) in the swallowing center induced an inhibition of rhythmic swallowing (latency of <30 s) as shown by the reduced number and strength of electromyographic activities, which could last several minutes. The threshold of the leptin-induced inhibition was close to 0.1 pg. Interestingly, the inhibitory effect of leptin was not observed in leptin receptor-deficient Zucker rats. Here we show that, in Wistar rats, leptin already known to modulate the discharge of medullary solitary tract nucleus-sensitive neurons involved in satiety reflexes can also modify the activity of swallowing premotoneurons, thereby inhibiting an essential motor component of feeding behavior.

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