Toward a Wiring Diagram Understanding of Appetite Control

Neuron. 2017 Aug 16;95(4):757-778. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2017.06.014.


Prior mouse genetic research has set the stage for a deep understanding of appetite regulation. This goal is now being realized through the use of recent technological advances, such as the ability to map connectivity between neurons, manipulate neural activity in real time, and measure neural activity during behavior. Indeed, major progress has been made with regard to meal-related gut control of appetite, arcuate nucleus-based hypothalamic circuits linking energy state to the motivational drive, hunger, and, finally, limbic and cognitive processes that bring about hunger-mediated increases in reward value and perception of food. Unexpected findings are also being made; for example, the rapid regulation of homeostatic neurons by cues that predict future food consumption. The aim of this review is to cover the major underpinnings of appetite regulation, describe recent advances resulting from new technologies, and synthesize these findings into an updated view of appetite regulation.

Keywords: AgRP neurons; POMC neurons; anticipatory regulation; arcuate nucleus; feedforward regulation; food cues; hunger; intervening variable; melanocortin-4 receptor; satiety.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Agouti-Related Protein / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Appetite / physiology*
  • Appetite Regulation
  • Arcuate Nucleus of Hypothalamus / cytology*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / innervation
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Neural Pathways / physiology*
  • Neurons / physiology*


  • Agouti-Related Protein