Scientists have found a «switch» gluttony in the brain of mice

© Carla Schaffer / AAAS // RIA Novosti / Alina Polynicotinate opened the center of gluttony in the brains of miceScientists have found a «switch» gluttony in the brain of mice© Carla Schaffer / AAAS // RIA Novosti / Alina Polania

Neuroscientists have found a special area in the brain of mice, the forced inclusion of which, in fact, instantly makes the rodent violently eat food even if it had already fed, said in an article published in the journal Science.

«Even minimal stimulation of this region leads to weight gain. Just ten minutes of stimulation indeterminate zone in subclause mouse ate about a third of her daily allowance of food intake. This shows why deep brain stimulation often leads to the fact that people begin to suffer from periodic binge eating,» says Anthony van den Pol (Anthony van den Pol) from Yale University (USA).

In recent years, scientists are actively studying the mechanisms that control appetite and tendency to abuse food. Through these efforts, biologists have discovered many potential «centers of appetite» and saturation in the brain of humans and animals, as well as several hormones and signaling molecules responsible for the satiety and cravings for fat and sweets.

For example, two years ago, scientists found a special group of nerve cells in the hypothalamus, the hormonal centre of the brain, the intensity of which determines how well-fed person feels or an animal. Similar discoveries as it is today I hope the doctors will help us to not only get rid of obesity, but the reverse is disorders – anorexia and bulimia, the appearance of which people are chronically hungry or avoid certain types of food.

Van den Paul and his colleague Xiaobing Zhang (Zhang Xiaobing) found another one region, this time associated with gluttony, after studying the so-called subthalamus – region of the brain located in the hypothalamus and plays a role of a bridge between the cortex, other parts of thalamus and spinal cord. This region today is often used as the target for electrical stimulation of the brain when dealing with a nervous TIC and other disorders in the brain associated with motor apparatus.

Such treatment is, as they say that often leads to unusual side results – patients periodically develops a gargantuan appetite and they start to eat huge amounts of food and gain weight.

The illusion of hunger

Trying to figure out why this happens, scientists experimented on mice, cells subthalamus which they infected with a special virus allowing them to force «turn on» and «off» neurons using pulses of laser. Watching the reaction of rodents to such radiation, scientists tried to find those cells, random stimulation, which could cause patients to overeat.

This idea proved to be successful – van den Floor and Zhang managed to find such cells in a so-called «indeterminate zone» of subthalamus – one of its internal structures, whose function was previously unknown to neuroscientists.

The stimulation of these cells led to a really stunning effects – mouse dramatically changed their behavior and began frantically eating the food in a moment after turning on the laser, even in cases when they were hungry and ignored the food a second ago. Just ten minutes of such stimulation, they ate a third of the daily amount of food, and after 40 minutes reached the level of 80%.

The reason for the development of these overeating was that the neurons in the «uncertain zone» suppress the nerve cells in the satiety center in the hypothalamus that forced the rodent to assume that he was extremely hungry and had not eaten for over a day. When food was not in sight, mouse began to gnaw twigs and other inedible items, and instantly ceased to do it, if they saw food or brain irradiation was stopped.

Interestingly, prolonged stimulation of the «center of gluttony» changed food preferences of mice and made them eat more sweet and fatty foods, which may be associated with the development of obesity and problems with the metabolism in obese people. The suppression of these cells, in turn, led to a fairly rapid reduction of the weight of mice that can be used to combat obesity in the future.