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Physiol Behav. 2017 Jul 1;176:195-206. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2017.01.027. Epub 2017 Jan 14.

Interoceptive modulation of neuroendocrine, emotional, and hypophagic responses to stress.

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University of Illinois at Chicago, Dept. of Psychology, Chicago, IL 60607, United States.
University of Pittsburgh, Dept. of Neuroscience, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, United States. Electronic address:


Periods of caloric deficit substantially attenuate many centrally mediated responses to acute stress, including neural drive to the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, anxiety-like behavior, and stress-induced suppression of food intake (i.e., stress hypophagia). It is posited that this stress response plasticity supports food foraging and promotes intake during periods of negative energy balance, even in the face of other internal or external threats, thereby increasing the likelihood that energy stores are repleted. The mechanisms by which caloric deficit alters central stress responses, however, remain unclear. The caudal brainstem contains two distinct populations of stress-recruited neurons [i.e., noradrenergic neurons of the A2 cell group that co-express prolactin-releasing peptide (PrRP+ A2 neurons), and glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) neurons] that also are responsive to interoceptive feedback about feeding and metabolic status. A2/PrRP and GLP-1 neurons have been implicated anatomically and functionally in the central control of the HPA axis, anxiety-like behavior, and stress hypophagia. The current review summarizes a growing body of evidence that caloric deficits attenuate physiological and behavioral responses to acute stress as a consequence of reduced recruitment of PrRP+ A2 and hindbrain GLP-1 neurons, accompanied by reduced signaling to their brainstem, hypothalamic, and limbic forebrain targets.

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