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Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2018 Nov;94:271-285. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2018.07.017. Epub 2018 Jul 30.

Hungry brains: A meta-analytical review of brain activation imaging studies on food perception and appetite in obese individuals.

Author information

1
fMRI Unit, IRCSS Istituto Ortopedico Galeazzi, Milan, Italy; Department of Psychology and PhD Program in Neuroscience of the School of Medicine and Surgery, University of Milano-Bicocca, Milan, Italy.
2
fMRI Unit, IRCSS Istituto Ortopedico Galeazzi, Milan, Italy.
3
Department of Psychology and NeuroMi - Milan Centre for Neuroscience, University of Milano-Bicocca, Milan, Italy.
4
DISTUM, Department of Humanistic Studies, University of Urbino Carlo Bo, Urbino, Italy; Center of Developmental Neuropsychology, ASUR Marche, Area Vasta 1, Pesaro, Italy.
5
Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases Unit, IRCCS Policlinico San Donato, San Donato Milanese, Milan, Italy.
6
Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases Unit, IRCCS Policlinico San Donato, San Donato Milanese, Milan, Italy; Department of Biomedical Sciences for Health, University of Milan, Milan, Italy.
7
fMRI Unit, IRCSS Istituto Ortopedico Galeazzi, Milan, Italy; University Vita e Salute San Raffaele, Milan, Italy.
8
fMRI Unit, IRCSS Istituto Ortopedico Galeazzi, Milan, Italy; Department of Psychology and NeuroMi - Milan Centre for Neuroscience, University of Milano-Bicocca, Milan, Italy. Electronic address: eraldo.paulesu@unimib.it.

Abstract

The dysregulation of food intake in chronic obesity has been explained by different theories. To assess their explanatory power, we meta-analyzed 22 brain-activation imaging studies. We found that obese individuals exhibit hyper-responsivity of the brain regions involved in taste and reward for food-related stimuli. Consistent with a Reward Surfeit Hypothesis, obese individuals exhibit a ventral striatum hyper-responsivity in response to pure tastes, particularly when fasting. Furthermore, we found that obese subjects display more frequent ventral striatal activation for visual food cues when satiated: this continued processing within the reward system, together with the aforementioned evidence, is compatible with the Incentive Sensitization Theory. On the other hand, we did not find univocal evidence in favor of a Reward Deficit Hypothesis nor for a systematic deficit of inhibitory cognitive control. We conclude that the available brain activation data on the dysregulated food intake and food-related behavior in chronic obesity can be best framed within an Incentive Sensitization Theory. Implications of these findings for a brain-based therapy of obesity are briefly discussed.

KEYWORDS:

Activation likelihood estimation; Hierarchical clustering; Meta-analysis; Neuroimaging; Obesity; Reward system

PMID:
30071209
DOI:
10.1016/j.neubiorev.2018.07.017
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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