A role for hippocampus in the utilization of hunger signals

Behav Neural Biol. 1993 Mar;59(2):167-71. doi: 10.1016/0163-1047(93)90925-8.


The hippocampus is generally regarded as an important anatomical substrate for learning and memory (e.g., Eichenbaum, Otto, & Cohen, Behavioral and Neural Biology, 57, 2-36, 1992; Squire, Psychological Review, 99, 195-231, 1992). In the present research, we provide evidence that the hippocampus is also involved with another function--utilization of hunger state signals. Rats with selective ibotenate lesions of the hippocampus were found to be impaired in their ability to discriminate between the interoceptive sensory consequences of food deprivation and satiation. At the same time the ability of these rats to discriminate between different exteroceptive cues was unaffected. These results suggest that deficits in discriminative performance were specific to interoceptive state stimuli. In addition, hippocampal-damaged rats also seemed unable to use their food deprivation stimuli as signals to engage in normal feeding behavior. Our results argue that although the hippocampus may be important for learning and memory processes, it also deserves consideration as a neural substrate for the regulation of food intake and perhaps other functions which involve interoceptive signals.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Hippocampus / physiopathology
  • Hunger / physiology*
  • Learning
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Signal Transduction