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Contribution of the mesolimbic dopamine system in mediating the effects of leptin and ghrelin on feeding

  • R. van Zessen (a1), G. van der Plasse (a1) and R. A. H. Adan (a1)


Feeding behaviour is crucial for the survival of an organism and is regulated by different brain circuits. Among these circuits the mesolimbic dopamine (DA) system is implicated in the anticipation and motivation for food rewards. This system consists of the dopaminergic neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA), and their projections to different cortico-limbic structures such as the nucleus accumbens and medial prefrontal cortex. While the importance of this system in motivational drive for different rewards, including drugs of abuse, has been clearly established, its role in energy balance remains largely unexplored. Evidence suggests that peripheral hormones such as leptin and ghrelin are involved in the anticipation and motivation for food and this might be partially mediated through their effects on the VTA. Yet, it remains to be determined whether these effects are direct effects of ghrelin and leptin onto VTA DA neurons, and to what extent indirect effects through other brain areas contribute. Elucidation of the role of leptin and ghrelin signalling on VTA DA neurons in relation to disruptions of energy balance might provide important insights into the role of this neural circuit in obesity and anorexia nervosa.

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Corresponding author

* Corresponding author: Professor Roger Adan, fax +31 887569032, email r.a.h.adan@umcutrecht.


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Contribution of the mesolimbic dopamine system in mediating the effects of leptin and ghrelin on feeding

  • R. van Zessen (a1), G. van der Plasse (a1) and R. A. H. Adan (a1)


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