NEURAL SYSTEMS OF TASTE AND INGESTIVE BEHAVIOR

Project: Research project

Description

This proposal represents a synthesis of research concerned with the neural
mechanisms that underlie the sensory control of feeding behavior. In large
part, the short term control of ingestive behavior is governed by sensory
neural processes originating in the oral cavity and viscera. Gustatory
stimuli offer a unique sensory probe of this system, because easily
specifiable chemical stimuli reliably elicit ingestion or rejection.
Visceral afferent stimuli can modulate gustatory activity within the brain
such that the behavioral response to the same chemical stimulus is switched
from ingestion to rejection, or vice versa. This proposal focuses on two
areas, the caudal brainstem and the thalamo-cortical axis. The caudal
brainstem, the medulla, pons, and midbrain, contains the first central
synapses for both gustatory and vagal visceral afferent axons, the
motoneurons responsible for ingestive behavior, and sufficient integrative
compacity to support rudimentary hunger and satiety. In the forebrain, the
sensory control of ingestion is equally well documented, but the neural
mechanisms involved are poorly understood. The anatomy of the gustatory
system has been established, but the neural procesisng of taste information
in the forebrain remains obscure. For the visceral afferent system, not
even the central organizaation can be specified. Using neuroanatomical,
electrophysiological, and behavioral analysis, specific experiments will
examine (1) the function of oral sensory activity in eliciting and guiding
ingestion and rejection behavior, (2) the nature of the visceral events
that control these response, and (3) the organization, coding, and
integration of the gustatory and visceral afferent activity involved in
switching from one behavior to the other. These experiments will provide
an opportunity to learn or develop numerous techniques, including
fluorescence microscopy, chronic extracellular electrophysiology,
innovative procedures for surgery and behavioral analysis, as well as to
continue and expand collaborative arrangements wiht productive scientists
elsewhere. In addition to contributing toward a basic understanding of how
the nervous system coordinates sensory information into precise
physiological behavioral controls, this research has direct relevance to
the etiology of specific behavioral pathology, such as dietary obesity,
bulemia, and anorexia nervosa.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date7/1/866/30/01

Funding

  • National Institutes of Health
  • National Institutes of Health
  • National Institutes of Health
  • National Institutes of Health: $101,331.00
  • National Institutes of Health
  • National Institutes of Health
  • National Institutes of Health
  • National Institutes of Health
  • National Institutes of Health
  • National Institutes of Health: $103,145.00
  • National Institutes of Health: $101,564.00
  • National Institutes of Health
  • National Institutes of Health
  • National Institutes of Health
  • National Institutes of Health

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Visceral Afferents
Eating
Behavior Control
Brain Stem
Hunger
Viscera
Prosencephalon
Behavioral Research
Pons
Appetite
Anorexia Nervosa
Nervous System
Axons
Mouth
Research
Electrophysiology
Obesity
Thirst
Feeding Behavior
Mesencephalon