Adiposity hormone, leptin, regulates food intake by influencing learning and memory

Jul 13, 2010

Research to be presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior (SSIB), the foremost society for research into all aspects of eating and drinking behavior, finds that the hormone leptin reduces food intake, in part, by activating the hippocampus, an area of the brain that controls learning and memory function. Leptin is a hormone released from fat cells that acts on the brain to inhibit feeding.

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania found that when leptin was delivered directly to the in rats, the animals consumed less food and lost body weight. Leptin delivered to this region of the also impaired the ability of the animals to learn about the spatial location of food.

These findings highlight the need for future research aimed at identifying the role of cognitive processes in and body weight control. "Feeding is a complex behavior that is not always driven by hunger or need. An element of our research program is focused on understanding how learning and memory contribute to excessive food intake, and ultimately obesity," says Dr. Scott Kanoski, lead author. When fat stores are plentiful, humans and animals may be less focused on learning about cues that provide information about food location and availability.

According to Kanoski, "these findings suggest that the brain receives and responds to signals about body energy status, specifically the amount of body fat reserves, and in turn these signals influence what type of environmental cues we learn about. When leptin signaling is impaired, which is common in , cognitive processes that normally would help inhibit or decrease food intake may also be compromised."

Explore further: Serotonin neuron subtypes: New insights could inform SIDS understanding, depression treatment

Provided by Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior

4.3 /5 (4 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Hunger hormone linked to memory

Jul 20, 2005

Scottish scientists say they've determined the hormone that controls the body's hunger pangs may also boost one's memory.

Fructose sets table for weight gain without warning

Oct 16, 2008

Eating too much fructose can induce leptin resistance, a condition that can easily lead to becoming overweight when combined with a high-fat, high-calorie diet, according to a new study with rats.

In obesity, brain becomes 'unaware' of fat

Mar 06, 2007

Critical portions of the brain in those who are obese don’t really know they are overweight, researchers have reported in the March issue of the journal Cell Metabolism, published by Cell Press. These findings in obese ...

A link between obesity and memory?

Jun 14, 2006

Scientists have wondered why obese patients who have diabetes also may have problems with their long-term memory. New Saint Louis University research in this month's Peptides provides a clue.

Recommended for you

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.