Food intake regulation – 2nd part

Authors: Ludmila Brunerová;  Michal Anděl
Authors‘ workplace: Centrum pro výzkum diabetu, metabolismu a výživy a Diabetologické centrum II. interní kliniky 3. LF UK a FN Královské Vinohrady, Praha, přednosta prof. MUDr. Michal Anděl, CSc.
Published in: Vnitř Lék 2014; 60(1): 38-50
Category: Reviews


The review article summarizes the principles of hedonic regulation of food intake which represents the food intake independent on the maintenance of homeostasis. The theory describing hedonic regulation, so called Incentive Salience Theory, comprises three major processes: liking (positive attribution to food stimulus), wanting (motivation to gain it) and learning (identification of these stimuli and distinguishing them from those connected with aversive reaction). Neuronal reward circuits are the anatomical and functional substrates of hedonic regulation. They react to gustatory and olfactory (or visual) stimuli associated with food intake. A food item is preferred in case its consumption is connected with a pleasant feeling thus promoting the behavioural reaction. The probability of this reaction after repetitive exposure to such a stimulus is increased (learned preference). On the contrary, learned aversion after repetitive exposure is connected with avoidance of a food item associated with a negative feeling. Main mediators of hedonic regulation are endocannabinoids, opioids and monoamines (dopamine, serotonin). Dopamine in dorsal striatum via D2 receptors generates food motivation as a key means of survival, however in ventral striatum (nucleus accumbens) is responsible for motivation to food bringing pleasure. Serotonin via its receptors 5-HT1A a T-HT2C decreases intake of palatable food. It plays a significant role in the pathogenesis of eating disorders, particularly mental anorexia. There, a food restriction represents a kind of automedication to constitutionally pathologically increased serotonin levels. Detailed understanding of processes regulating food intake is a key to new pharmacological interventions in eating disorders.

Key words:
dopamine – endocannabinoids – hedonic regulation – opioids – reward circuits – serotonin


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