Running on Empty: Leptin Signaling in VTA Regulates Reward from Physical Activity

Cell Metab. 2015 Oct 6;22(4):540-1. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2015.09.021.


Hunger increases physical activity and stamina to support food-directed foraging behaviors, but underlying mechanisms are unclear. In this issue, Fernandes et al. (2015) show that disruption of leptin-regulated STAT3 signaling in midbrain dopamine neurons increases the rewarding effects of running in mice, which could explain the "high" experienced by endurance runners.

Publication types

  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dopaminergic Neurons / metabolism*
  • Leptin / pharmacology*
  • STAT3 Transcription Factor / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects*


  • Leptin
  • STAT3 Transcription Factor