Natural locus coeruleus dynamics during feeding

Sci Adv. 2022 Aug 19;8(33):eabn9134. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abn9134. Epub 2022 Aug 19.


Recent data demonstrate that noradrenergic neurons of the locus coeruleus (LC-NE) are required for fear-induced suppression of feeding, but the role of endogenous LC-NE activity in natural, homeostatic feeding remains unclear. Here, we found that LC-NE activity was suppressed during food consumption, and the magnitude of this neural response was attenuated as mice consumed more pellets throughout the session, suggesting that LC responses to food are modulated by satiety state. Visual-evoked LC-NE activity was also attenuated in sated mice, suggesting that satiety state modulates LC-NE encoding of multiple behavioral states. We also found that food intake could be attenuated by brief or longer durations of LC-NE activation. Last, we found that activation of the LC to the lateral hypothalamus pathway suppresses feeding and enhances avoidance and anxiety-like responding. Our findings suggest that LC-NE neurons modulate feeding by integrating both external cues (e.g., anxiogenic environmental cues) and internal drives (e.g., satiety).