Gustatory and reward brain circuits in the control of food intake.
Gustation is a multisensory process allowing for the selection of nutrients and the rejection of irritating and/or toxic compounds. Since obesity is a highly prevalent condition that is critically dependent on food intake and energy expenditure, a deeper understanding of gustatory processing is an important objective in biomedical research. Recent findings have provided evidence that central gustatory processes are distributed across several cortical and subcortical brain areas. Furthermore, these gustatory sensory circuits are closely related to the circuits that process reward. Here, we present an overview of the activation and connectivity between central gustatory and reward areas. Moreover, and given the limitations in number and effectiveness of treatments currently available for overweight patients, we discuss the possibility of modulating neuronal activity in these circuits as an alternative in the treatment of obesity.
Oliveira-Maia, AJ; Roberts, CD; Simon, SA; Nicolelis, MAL
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