Regulatory Processes of Hunger Motivated Behavior
While food intake and body weight are under homeostatic regulation, eating is a highly motivated and reinforced behavior that induces feelings of gratification and pleasure. The chemical senses (taste and odor) and their evaluation are essential to these functions. Brainstem and limbic glucose-monitoring (GM) neurons receiving neurochemical information from the periphery and from the local brain milieu are important controlling hunger motivation, and brain gut peptides have a modulatory role on this function. The hypothalamic and limbic forebrain areas are responsible for evaluation of reward quality and related emotions. They are innervated by the mesolimbic dopaminergic system (MLDS) and majority of GM neurons are also influenced by dopamine. Via dopamine release, the MLDS plays an essential role in rewarding-reinforcing processes of feeding and addiction. The GM network and the MLDS in the limbic system represent essential elements in the neural substrate of motivation.
KeywordsHunger motivation glucose-monitoring network taste information processing dopamine reward
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