Author(s): Laboube G, Liu S, Dias C, Zou H, Wong JC,
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Abstract The prevalence of obesity has markedly increased over the past few decades. Exploration of how hunger and satiety signals influence the reward system can help us understand non-homeostatic feeding. Insulin may act in the ventral tegmental area (VTA), a critical site for reward-seeking behavior, to suppress feeding. However, the neural mechanisms underlying insulin effects in the VTA remain unknown. We demonstrate that insulin, a circulating catabolic peptide that inhibits feeding, can induce long-term depression (LTD) of mouse excitatory synapses onto VTA dopamine neurons. This effect requires endocannabinoid-mediated presynaptic inhibition of glutamate release. Furthermore, after a sweetened high-fat meal, which elevates endogenous insulin, insulin-induced LTD is occluded. Finally, insulin in the VTA reduces food anticipatory behavior in mice and conditioned place preference for food in rats. Taken together, these results suggest that insulin in the VTA suppresses excitatory synaptic transmission and reduces anticipatory activity and preference for food-related cues.
This article was published in Nat Neurosci
and referenced in Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy