The paraventricular nucleus of the thalamus (PVT) controls goal-oriented behavior through its connections to the nucleus accumbens (NAc). We previously characterized Glut2aPVT neurons that are activated by hypoglycemia, and which increase sucrose seeking behavior through their glutamatergic projections to the NAc. Here, we identified glucokinase (Gck)-expressing neurons of the PVT (GckaPVT) and generated a mouse line expressing the Cre recombinase from the glucokinase locus (Gck Cre/+ mice). Ex vivo calcium imaging and whole-cell patch clamp recordings revealed that GckaPVT neurons that project to the NAc were mostly activated by hyperglycemia. Their chemogenetic inhibition or optogenetic stimulation, respectively, enhanced food intake or decreased sucrose-seeking behavior. Collectively, our results describe a neuronal population of Gck-expressing neurons in the PVT, which has opposite glucose sensing properties and control over feeding behavior than the previously characterized Glut2aPVT neurons. This study allows a better understanding of the complex regulation of feeding behavior by the PVT.
Keywords: Behavioral neuroscience; Cellular neuroscience; Neuroscience.
© 2021 The Author(s).