Hippocampal leptin signaling reduces food intake and modulates food-related memory processing

Neuropsychopharmacology. 2011 Aug;36(9):1859-70. doi: 10.1038/npp.2011.70. Epub 2011 May 4.


The increase in obesity prevalence highlights the need for a more comprehensive understanding of the neural systems controlling food intake; one that extends beyond food intake driven by metabolic need and considers that driven by higher-order cognitive factors. The hippocampus, a brain structure involved in learning and memory function, has recently been linked with food intake control. Here we examine whether administration of the adiposity hormone leptin to the dorsal and ventral sub-regions of the hippocampus influences food intake and memory for food. Leptin (0.1 μg) delivered bilaterally to the ventral hippocampus suppressed food intake and body weight measured 24 h after administration; a higher dose (0.4 μg) was needed to suppress intake following dorsal hippocampal delivery. Leptin administration to the ventral but not dorsal hippocampus blocked the expression of a conditioned place preference for food and increased the latency to run for food in an operant runway paradigm. Additionally, ventral but not dorsal hippocampal leptin delivery suppressed memory consolidation for the spatial location of food, whereas hippocampal leptin delivery had no effect on memory consolidation in a non-spatial appetitive response paradigm. Collectively these findings indicate that ventral hippocampal leptin signaling contributes to the inhibition of food-related memories elicited by contextual stimuli. To conclude, the results support a role for hippocampal leptin signaling in the control of food intake and food-related memory processing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Appetite Regulation / drug effects
  • Appetite Regulation / physiology*
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Body Weight / physiology
  • CA1 Region, Hippocampal / drug effects
  • CA1 Region, Hippocampal / physiology
  • CA3 Region, Hippocampal / drug effects
  • CA3 Region, Hippocampal / physiology
  • Conditioning, Psychological / drug effects
  • Conditioning, Psychological / physiology
  • Feeding Behavior / drug effects
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology
  • Hippocampus / anatomy & histology
  • Hippocampus / drug effects
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Leptin / pharmacology
  • Leptin / physiology*
  • Male
  • Memory / drug effects
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Signal Transduction / physiology


  • Leptin