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A Vagal-NTS Neural Pathway that Stimulates Feeding


A fundamental question of physiology is how gut-brain signaling stimulates appetite. While many studies have emphasized the importance of vagal afferents to the brain in inducing satiation, little is known about whether and how the vagal-mediated gut-brain pathway senses orexigenic signals and stimulates feeding. Here, we identified a previously uncharacterized population of fasting-activated catecholaminergic neurons in the nucleus of the solitary tract (NTS). After characterizing the anatomical complexity among NTS catecholaminergic neurons, we surprisingly found that activation of NTS epinephrine (E(NTS)) neurons co-expressing neuropeptide Y (NPY) stimulated feeding, whereas activation of NTS norepinephrine (NE(NTS)) neurons suppressed feeding. Monosynaptic tracing/activation experiments then showed that these NTS neurons receive direct vagal afferents from nodose neurons. Moreover, activation of the vagal-->NPY/E(NTS) neural circuit stimulated feeding. Our study reveals an orexigenic role of the vagal-->NTS pathway in controlling feeding, thereby providing important insights about how gut-brain signaling regulates feeding behavior.

Type Journal
ISBN 1879-0445 (Electronic) 0960-9822 (Linking)
Authors Chen, J.; Cheng, M.; Wang, L.; Zhang, L.; Xu, D.; Cao, P.; Wang, F.; Herzog, H.; Song, S.; Zhan, C.
Responsible Garvan Author Prof Herbert Herzog
Published Date 2020-10-31
Published Volume 30
Published Issue 20
Published Pages 3986-3998.e5
Status Published in-print
DOI 10.1016/j.cub.2020.07.084
URL link to publisher's version