Neuronal control of energy homeostasis

FEBS Lett. 2008 Jan 9;582(1):132-41. doi: 10.1016/j.febslet.2007.11.063. Epub 2007 Dec 3.


Neuronal control of body energy homeostasis is the key mechanism by which animals and humans regulate their long-term energy balance. Various hypothalamic neuronal circuits (which include the hypothalamic melanocortin, midbrain dopamine reward and caudal brainstem autonomic feeding systems) control energy intake and expenditure to maintain body weight within a narrow range for long periods of a life span. Numerous peripheral metabolic hormones and nutrients target these structures providing feedback signals that modify the default "settings" of neuronal activity to accomplish this balance. A number of molecular genetic tools for manipulating individual components of brain energy homeostatic machineries, in combination with anatomical, electrophysiological, pharmacological and behavioral techniques, have been developed, which provide a means for elucidating the complex molecular and cellular mechanisms of feeding behavior and metabolism. This review will highlight some of these advancements and focus on the neuronal circuitries of energy homeostasis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain Stem / physiology
  • Dopamine / physiology
  • Energy Metabolism*
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Ghrelin / physiology
  • Glutamates / physiology
  • Homeostasis*
  • Leptin / physiology
  • Melanocortins / physiology
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Neuropeptide Y / physiology
  • Pro-Opiomelanocortin / physiology
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / physiology


  • Ghrelin
  • Glutamates
  • Leptin
  • Melanocortins
  • Neuropeptide Y
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
  • Pro-Opiomelanocortin
  • Dopamine