The effects of insulin on the central nervous system--focus on appetite regulation

Horm Metab Res. 2006 Jul;38(7):442-6. doi: 10.1055/s-2006-947840.


Appetite and satiety are subject to complex regulation, with neuroendocrine mechanisms playing an important role. The central nervous system is attracting increasing attention as a target tissue for many hormones such as leptin, PYY3-36, ghrelin, glucagon-like-peptide 1 and many others. Among its many well-known functions, insulin is also a potent anorexigenic hormone, and insulin receptors are widely distributed throughout the central nervous system. One way to advance our understanding of central nervous regulation of hunger and satiety in humans is to develop suitable neuroimaging techniques for use in various clinical and experimental conditions. Several studies have been performed using functional magnetic resonance imaging and positron emission tomography to identify areas of the brain that are differentially activated by alteration of the feeding state. These preliminary data are taking shape as a complex neuronal network involving the hypothalamus, thalamus, limbic and paralimbic areas including the insular cortex and the anterior cingulate gyrus and the orbitofrontal cortex. Continuous efforts to understand hormonal effects on these pathways may advance our understanding of human obesity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Appetite Regulation / physiology*
  • Central Nervous System / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Insulin / metabolism*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Obesity / metabolism


  • Insulin