Date: September 13, 1999Table of Neurochemical Manufacturers

The hypothalamus has long been known as a control center for feeding and weight control behaviors. Complex regulatory feedback loops enable this portion of the brain to determine satiety and metabolic activity. Not surprisingly, the control mechanisms are complex and involve different biochemical pathways.1,2,3

Image courtesy of Jeffrey M. Friedman

An ob/ob mouse stacking up against its lean counterparts
A series of pioneering experiments demonstrated that disruption of the ventromedial hypothalamus causes animals to eat more and gain weight. In contrast, when the lateral hypothalamus is destroyed, animals eat less, lose weight, and may even starve to death. These experiments led to the suspicion that the hypothalamus contained ventromedial "satiety" and lateral "feeding" regions. Although these early notions are now recognized as simplistic, they provided a conceptual framework upon which subsequent work in the obesity research field has been built.3...

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