Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 Nov;96(5):989-99. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.112.042341. Epub 2012 Sep 18.

Regional brain response to visual food cues is a marker of satiety that predicts food choice.

Author information

Departments of Radiology and the Diabetes and Obesity Center of Excellence, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA.



Neuronal processes that underlie the subjective experience of satiety after a meal are not well defined.


We investigated how satiety alters the perception of and neural response to visual food cues.


Normal-weight participants (10 men, 13 women) underwent 2 fMRI scans while viewing images of high-calorie food that was previously rated as incompatible with weight loss and "fattening" and low-calorie, "nonfattening" food. After a fasting fMRI scan, participants ate a standardized breakfast and underwent reimaging at a randomly assigned time 15-300 min after breakfast to vary the degree of satiety. Measures of subjective appetite, food appeal, and ad libitum food intake (measured after the second fMRI scan) were correlated with activation by "fattening" (compared with "nonfattening") food cues in a priori regions of interest.


Greater hunger correlated with higher appeal ratings of "fattening" (r = 0.46, P = 0.03) but not "nonfattening" (r = -0.20, P = 0.37) foods. Fasting amygdalar activation was negatively associated with fullness (left: r = -0.52; right: r = -0.58; both P ≤ 0.01), whereas postbreakfast fullness was positively correlated with activation in the dorsal striatum (right: r = 0.44; left: r = 0.45; both P < 0.05). After breakfast, participants with greater activation in 4 regions-medial orbital frontal cortex (r = 0.49, P < 0.05), left amygdala (r = 0.49, P < 0.05), left insula (r = 0.47, P < 0.05), and nucleus accumbens (right: r = 0.57, P < 0.01; left: r = 0.43, P < 0.05)-chose buffet foods with higher fat content.


Postmeal satiety is shown in regional brain activation by images of high-calorie foods. Regions including the amygdala, nucleus accumbens, and dorsal striatum may alter perception of, and reduce motivation to consume, energy-rich foods, ultimately driving food choice. This trial was registered at as NCT01631045.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center