[Special Feature] Brain Regulation of Metabolism

Over last decades obese populations continue to increase worldwide and obesity-related diseases will be an increasing threat to human health unless we find effective ways to prevent and manage obesity. Understanding the mechanisms underlying weight control is essential for our effects to combat obesity. The mammals evolve to develop the system for energy homeostasis. The center for this system resides in the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is connected to a number of brain regions and peripheral organs via complex neural circuits including the autonomic nervous system. Feeding behaviors and energy expenditure are elaborately controlled through their communications. Remarkable advances in neuroscience and genetic technology enable us to discover specific neuronal populations and their neural circuits involved in various steps of feeding behaviors as well as control of energy and glucose metabolism. The brain-gut axis is attractable and more approachable in the aspect of obesity treatment. Recent studies highlight the roles of gut, gut-derived hormones, and gut-resident microbiota in energy metabolism and obesity. Although genetic factors considerably affect obesity development, environmental factors during developmental and post-developmental periods, especially overconsumption of fat-rich diets, promotes obesity by disrupting neural mechanisms maintaining energy homeostasis. The detailed pathological processes and critical mediators underpinning diet-induced obesity are beginning to be revealed. This special review series update you on a recent progress in neural mechanisms of weight control in relation to obesity.   


Brain Regulation of Metabolism