The lateral hypothalamus: a primary site mediating excitatory amino acid-elicited eating

Brain Res. 1993 Dec 10;630(1-2):41-9. doi: 10.1016/0006-8993(93)90640-9.


Lateral hypothalamic (LH) injections of the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate, or its excitatory amino acid (EAA) agonists, kainic acid (KA), D,L-alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-isoxazole propionic acid (AMPA), or N-methyl-D-aspartic acid (NMDA), can rapidly elicit an intense feeding response in satiated rats. To determine whether the LH is the actual locus of this effect, we compared these compounds' ability to stimulate feeding when injected into the LH, versus when injected into sites bracketing this region. Food intake in groups of adult male rats was measured 1 h after injection of glutamate (30-900 nmol), KA (0.1-1.0 nmol), AMPA (0.33-3.3 nmol), NMDA (0.33-33.3 nmol) or vehicle, through chronically implanted guide cannulas, into one of seven brain sites. These sites were: the LH, the anterior and posterior tips of the LH, the thalamus immediately dorsal to the LH, the amygdala just lateral to the LH, or the paraventricular and perifornical areas medial to the LH. The results show that across doses and agonists the eating-stimulatory effects were largest with injections into the LH. In the LH, glutamate between 300 and 900 nmol elicited a dose-dependent eating response of up to 5 g within 1 h (P < 0.01). Each of the other agonists at doses of 3.3 nmol or less elicited eating responses of at least 10 g with injections into this site. Injections into the other brain sites produced either no eating, or occasionally smaller and less consistent eating responses.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Feeding Behavior / drug effects*
  • Glutamates / pharmacology
  • Glutamic Acid
  • Hypothalamic Area, Lateral / physiology*
  • Injections
  • Kainic Acid / pharmacology
  • Male
  • N-Methylaspartate / pharmacology
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • alpha-Amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic Acid / pharmacology


  • Amino Acids
  • Glutamates
  • Neurotransmitter Agents
  • Glutamic Acid
  • N-Methylaspartate
  • alpha-Amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic Acid
  • Kainic Acid