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Orexin/Hypocretin-1 Receptor Antagonism Selectively Reduces Cue-Induced Feeding in Sated Rats and Recruits Medial Prefrontal Cortex and Thalamus.

Scientific reports (2015-11-06)
Sindy Cole, Heather S Mayer, Gorica D Petrovich
ABSTRACT

The orexin/hypocretin system is important for reward-seeking behaviors, however less is known about its function in non-homeostatic feeding. Environmental influences, particularly cues for food can stimulate feeding in the absence of hunger and lead to maladaptive overeating behavior. The key components of the neural network that mediates this cue-induced overeating in sated rats include lateral hypothalamus, amygdala, and medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), yet the neuropharmacological mechanisms within this network remain unknown. The current study investigated a causal role for orexin in cue-driven feeding, and examined the neural substrates through which orexin mediates this effect. Systemic administration of the orexin-1 receptor (OX1R) antagonist SB-334867 had no effect on baseline eating, but significantly reduced cue-driven consumption in sated rats. Complementary neural analysis revealed that decreased cue-induced feeding under SB-334867 increased Fos expression in mPFC and paraventricular thalamus. These results demonstrate that OX1R signaling critically regulates cue-induced feeding, and suggest orexin is acting through prefrontal cortical and thalamic sites to drive eating in the absence of hunger. These findings inform our understanding of how food-associated cues override signals from the body to promote overeating, and indicate OX1R antagonism as a potential pharmacologic target for treatment of disordered eating in humans.

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