Nature 443, 289-295 (21 September 2006) | doi:10.1038/nature05026

Central nervous system control of food intake and body weight

G. J. Morton1, D. E. Cummings2, D. G. Baskin2,3, G. S. Barsh4 and M. W. Schwartz1

The capacity to adjust food intake in response to changing energy requirements is essential for survival. Recent progress has provided an insight into the molecular, cellular and behavioural mechanisms that link changes of body fat stores to adaptive adjustments of feeding behaviour. The physiological importance of this homeostatic control system is highlighted by the severe obesity that results from dysfunction of any of several of its key components. This new information provides a biological context within which to consider the global obesity epidemic and identifies numerous potential avenues for therapeutic intervention and future research.

  1. Department of Medicine, Harborview Medical Center and University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98104, USA
  2. Department of Medicine, Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System and University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98108, USA
  3. Departments of Medicine and Biological Structure, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98104, USA
  4. Departments of Genetics and Pediatrics, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California 94305, USA

Correspondence to: M. W. Schwartz1 Correspondence should be addressed to M.W.S. (Email:


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