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Nat Commun. 2019 Aug 1;10(1):3446. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-11399-z.

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

Author information

1
Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Texas McGovern Medical School, Houston, TX, 77030, USA.
2
Graduate Program in Neuroscience of the University of Texas MD Anderson UTHealth Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Houston, TX, 77030, USA.
3
Children's Nutrition Research Center, Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, One Baylor Plaza, Houston, TX, 77030, USA.
4
Department of Molecular & Human Genetics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, 77030, USA.
5
Department of Neuroscience and Jan Duncan Neurological Research Institute, Texas Children's Hospital, Houston, TX, 77030, USA.
6
Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Texas McGovern Medical School, Houston, TX, 77030, USA. qingchun.tong@uth.tmc.edu.
7
Graduate Program in Neuroscience of the University of Texas MD Anderson UTHealth Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Houston, TX, 77030, USA. qingchun.tong@uth.tmc.edu.
8
Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy, University of Texas McGovern Medical School, Houston, TX, 77030, USA. qingchun.tong@uth.tmc.edu.

Abstract

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.

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