Glucose availability regulates ghrelin-induced food intake in the ventral tegmental area

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Information about metabolic status arrives in the brain in the form of a complex milieu of circulating signalling factors, including glucose and fatty acids, ghrelin, leptin and insulin. The specific interactions between humoural factors, brain sites of action and how they influence behaviour are largely unknown. We have previously observed interactions between glucose availability and the actions of ghrelin mediated via the agouti-related peptide neurones of the hypothalamus. In the present study, we examine whether these effects generalise to another ghrelin-sensitive brain nucleus, the ventral tegmental area (VTA). We altered glucose availability by injecting mice with glucose or 2-deoxyglucose i.p. to induce hyperglycaemia and glucopenia, respectively. Thirty minutes later, we injected ghrelin in the VTA. Glucose administration suppressed intra-VTA ghrelin-induced feeding. Leptin, a longer-term signal of positive energy balance, did not affect intra-VTA ghrelin-induced feeding. 2-Deoxyglucose and ghrelin both increased food intake in their own right and, together, they additively increased feeding. These results add support to the idea that calculation of metabolic need depends on multiple signals across multiple brain regions and identifies that VTA circuits are sensitive to the integration of signals reflecting internal homeostatic state and influencing food intake.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12696
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Neuroendocrinology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019


  • 2-deoxyglucose
  • food intake
  • ghrelin
  • ghrelin resistance
  • glucose
  • ventral tegmental area

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