An appetite for life: brain regulation of hunger and satiety

Lora K Heisler, Daniel D Lam

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

64 Citations (Scopus)


Obesity results from the consumption of food in excess of bodily energy requirements, with the excess energy stored as adipose tissue. Sequelae of obesity, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes, consistently rank among the top causes of death worldwide. The global prevalence of obesity highlights the urgency of understanding the mechanisms regulating hunger and satiety. Appetite, defined as the motivational drive to obtain food, is regulated by a complex neurocircuitry which integrates a variety of interoceptive signals to gauge nutritional state and guide appropriate levels of food-seeking. Here we review key recent developments in the identification of cell groups, neural circuits, endogenous and exogenous substances, and intracellular signaling pathways which drive hunger and satiety. We also consider particularly promising pharmacological targets for appetite modulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)100-106
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Opinion in Pharmacology
Early online date5 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017

Bibliographical note

Acknowledgements: Work was supported by the Wellcome Trust (LKH: WT098012), Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (LKH: BB/K001418/1, BB/NO17838/1), Medical Research Council (LKH: MC/PC/15077), and Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DDL: LA 3830/1-1).


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