The recently described generation of new neurons in the adult hypothalamus, the center for energy regulation, suggests that hypothalamic neurogenesis is a crucial part of the mechanisms that regulate food intake. Accordingly, neurogenesis in both the adult and embryonic hypothalamus is affected by nutritional cues and metabolic disorders such as obesity, with consequent effects on energy-balance. This review critically discusses recent findings on the contribution of adult hypothalamic neurogenesis to feeding regulation, the impact of energy-balance disorders on adult hypothalamic neurogenesis, and the influence of embryonic hypothalamic neurogenesis upon feeding regulation in the adult. Understanding how hypothalamic neurogenesis contributes to food intake control will change the paradigm on how we perceive energy-balance regulation.
Keywords: food intake; hypothalamus; neural stem cells; neurogenesis; neuropeptide Y; obesity; proopiomelanocortin.
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