Nucleus accumbens D1- and D2-expressing neurons control the balance between feeding and activity-mediated energy expenditure

Nat Commun. 2024 Mar 21;15(1):2543. doi: 10.1038/s41467-024-46874-9.


Accumulating evidence points to dysregulations of the Nucleus Accumbens (NAc) in eating disorders (ED), however its precise contribution to ED symptomatic dimensions remains unclear. Using chemogenetic manipulations in male mice, we found that activity of dopamine D1 receptor-expressing neurons of the NAc core subregion facilitated effort for a food reward as well as voluntary exercise, but decreased food intake, while D2-expressing neurons have opposite effects. These effects are congruent with D2-neurons being more active than D1-neurons during feeding while it is the opposite during running. Chronic manipulations of each subpopulations had limited effects on energy balance. However, repeated activation of D1-neurons combined with inhibition of D2-neurons biased behavior toward activity-related energy expenditure, whilst the opposite manipulations favored energy intake. Strikingly, concomitant activation of D1-neurons and inhibition of D2-neurons precipitated weight loss in anorexia models. These results suggest that dysregulations of NAc dopaminoceptive neurons might be at the core of EDs.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Nucleus Accumbens* / metabolism
  • Receptors, Dopamine D1 / genetics
  • Receptors, Dopamine D1 / metabolism
  • Receptors, Dopamine D2* / genetics
  • Receptors, Dopamine D2* / metabolism


  • Receptors, Dopamine D2
  • Receptors, Dopamine D1