The Neurobiology of Obesity
Obesity is among the most devastating health problems in modern society. It is mainly attributed to the sedentary modern life style and to the high caloric content of processed foods, but the increasing palatability of food cannot be ignored. Do obese people overconsume calorie-rich food because of its rewarding aspects? If so, could obesity be underlied, at least in part, by changes in the reward system that resemble those occurring in pathological conditions of addiction? In the lab we strive to understand whether the reward system is involved in the development of obesity. We use an animal model of obesity and examine the reward pathway with electrophysiological and optogenetic/chemogenetic tools.
Animals that developed obesity also showed higher motivation to obtain palatable food and a potentiated glutamatergic input to the nucleus accumbens.
(Adapted from Brown*, Kupchik* et al. 2016 Biological Psychiatry)