Mapping brain activity of gut-brain signaling to appetite and satiety in healthy adults: A systematic review and functional neuroimaging meta-analysis

Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2022 May;136:104603. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2022.104603. Epub 2022 Mar 9.


Understanding how neurohormonal gut-brain signaling regulates appetite and satiety is vital for the development of therapies for obesity and altered eating behavior. However, reported brain areas associated with appetite or satiety regulators show inconsistency across functional neuroimaging studies. The aim of this study was to systematically assess the convergence of brain regions modulated by appetite and satiety regulators. Twenty-five studies were considered for qualitative synthesis, and 14 independent studies (20-experiments) found eligible for coordinate-based neuroimaging meta-analyses across 212 participants and 123 foci. We employed two different meta-analysis approaches. The results from the systematic review revealed the modulation of insula, amygdala, hippocampus, and orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) with appetite regulators, where satiety regulators were more associated with caudate nucleus, hypothalamus, thalamus, putamen, anterior cingulate cortex in addition to the insula and OFC. The two neuroimaging meta-analyses methods identified the caudate nucleus as a key area associated with satiety regulators. Our results provide quantitative brain activation maps of neurohormonal gut-brain signaling in heathy-weight adults that can be used to define alterations with eating behavior.

Keywords: Activation likelihood estimation (ALE); Altered eating behavior; Analysis of Brain Coordinates (ABC); Coordinate based meta-analysis; Gut peptides; Gut-brain axis; Neuroimaging; Obesity; Satiety, appetite.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Appetite* / physiology
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / physiology
  • Brain Mapping
  • Functional Neuroimaging*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Neuroimaging
  • Satiation / physiology