Research Highlights | Published:


How alcohol ramps up hunger signals

Nature volume 541, page 136 (12 January 2017) | Download Citation

Brain cells that regulate appetite and feeding are activated by alcohol, offering a possible explanation for why drinking can lead to overeating.

Sarah Cains at the Francis Crick Institute in London and her colleagues exposed mice to alcohol for three days and found that the animals' food intake increased during that period. An analysis of mouse brain tissue showed that alcohol boosts the activity of Agrp neurons, which trigger feelings of intense hunger when stimulated. The activity level was similar to that caused by fasting or hunger hormones.

When the team silenced these cells in mice and then gave them alcohol, the animals did not increase their eating.

About this article

Publication history





    By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.

    Newsletter Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing