Background: Melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH)-expressing neurons have been implicated in regulation of energy homeostasis and reward, yet the role of their electrical activity in short-term appetite and reward modulation has not been fully understood.
Objectives: We investigated short-term behavioral and physiological effects of MCH neuron activity manipulations.
Methods: We used optogenetic and chemogenetic approaches in Pmch-cre transgenic mice to acutely stimulate/inhibit MCH neuronal activity while probing feeding, locomotor activity, anxiety-like behaviors, glucose homeostasis, and reward.
Results: MCH neuron activity is neither required nor sufficient for short-term appetite unless stimulation is temporally paired with consumption. MCH neuronal activation does not affect short-term locomotor activity, but inhibition improves glucose tolerance and is mildly anxiolytic. Finally, using two different operant tasks, we showed that activation of MCH neurons alone is sufficient to induce reward.
Conclusions: Our results confirm diverse behavioral/physiological functions of MCH neurons and suggest a direct role in reward function.
Keywords: Chemogenetics; Glucose homeostasis; Melanin-concentrating hormone; Optogenetics; Reward.
© 2019 S. Karger AG, Basel.
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