Control of Feeding Behavior by Cerebral Ventricular Volume Transmission of Melanin-Concentrating Hormone

Cell Metab. 2018 Jul 3;28(1):55-68.e7. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2018.05.001. Epub 2018 May 31.


Classical mechanisms through which brain-derived molecules influence behavior include neuronal synaptic communication and neuroendocrine signaling. Here we provide evidence for an alternative neural communication mechanism that is relevant for food intake control involving cerebroventricular volume transmission of the neuropeptide melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH). Results reveal that the cerebral ventricles receive input from approximately one-third of MCH-producing neurons. Moreover, MCH cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) levels increase prior to nocturnal feeding and following chemogenetic activation of MCH-producing neurons. Utilizing a dual viral vector approach, additional results reveal that selective activation of putative CSF-projecting MCH neurons increases food intake. In contrast, food intake was reduced following immunosequestration of MCH endogenously present in CSF, indicating that neuropeptide transmission through the cerebral ventricles is a physiologically relevant signaling pathway for energy balance control. Collectively these results suggest that neural-CSF volume transmission signaling may be a common neurobiological mechanism for the control of fundamental behaviors.

Keywords: CSF; MCH; appetite; cerebrospinal fluid; circadian; feeding; neuroendocrine; obesity; orexin; volume transmission.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cerebral Ventricles / metabolism*
  • Eating / psychology*
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology*
  • Hypothalamic Hormones / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Male
  • Melanins / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Neuropeptides / metabolism
  • Pituitary Hormones / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Synaptic Transmission


  • Hypothalamic Hormones
  • Melanins
  • Neuropeptides
  • Pituitary Hormones
  • melanin-concentrating hormone