POMC Neurons in Heat: A Link between Warm Temperatures and Appetite Suppression

When core body temperature increases, appetite and food consumption decline. A higher core body temperature can occur during exercise, during exposure to warm environmental temperatures, or during a fever, yet the mechanisms that link relatively warm temperatures to appetite suppression are unknown. A recent study in PLOS Biology demonstrates that neurons in the mouse hypothalamus that express pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC), a neural population well known to suppress food intake, also express a temperature-sensitive ion channel, transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1). Slight increases in body temperature cause a TRPV1-dependent increase in activity in POMC neurons, which suppresses feeding in mice. Taken together, this study suggests a novel mechanism linking body temperature and food-seeking behavior.

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