Objective: The lateral parabrachial nucleus (lPBN) in the brainstem has emerged as a key area involved in feeding control that is targeted by several circulating anorexigenic hormones. Here, the objective was to determine whether the lPBN is also a relevant site for the orexigenic hormone ghrelin, inspired by studies in mice and rats showing that there is an abundance of ghrelin receptors in this area. Methods: This study first explored whether iPBN cells respond to ghrelin involving Fos mapping and electrophysiological studies in rats. Next, rats were injected acutely with ghrelin, a ghrelin receptor antagonist, or vehicle into the lPBN to investigate feeding-linked behaviors. Results: Curiously, ghrelin injection (intracerebroventricular or intravenous) increased Fos protein expression in the lPBN yet the predominant electrophysiological response was inhibitory. Intra-lPBN ghrelin injection increased chow or high-fat diet intake, whereas the antagonist decreased chow intake only. In a choice paradigm, intra-lPBN ghrelin increased intake of chow but not lard or sucrose. Intra-lPBN ghrelin did not alter progressive ratio lever pressing for sucrose or conditioned place preference for chocolate. Conclusions: The lPBN is a novel locus from which ghrelin can alter consummatory behaviors (food intake and choice) but not appetitive behaviors (food reward and motivation).
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Nutrition and Dietetics