The Allen Brain Atlas, the most comprehensive in situ hybridization database, covers over 21,000 genes expressed in the mouse brain. Here we discuss the feasibility to utilize the ABA in research pertaining to the central regulation of feeding and we define advantages and vulnerabilities associated with the use of the atlas as a guidance tool. We searched for 57 feeding-related genes in the ABA, and of those 42 display distribution consistent with that described in previous reports. Detailed analyses of these 42 genes in the nucleus accumbens, ventral tegmental area, nucleus of the solitary tract, lateral hypothalamus, arcuate, paraventricular, ventromedial and dorsomedial nuclei suggests that molecules involved in feeding stimulation and termination are coexpressed in multiple consumption-related sites. Gene systems linked to energy needs, reward or satiation display a remarkably high level of overlap. This conclusion calls into question the classical concept of brain sites viewed as independent hunger or reward "centers" and favors the theory of a widespread feeding network comprising multiple neuroregulators affecting numerous aspects of consumption.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The study was supported by the Swedish Research Council (VR, medicine), AFA insurance, Åhlens Foundation, the Novo Nordisk Foundation and Magnus Bergvall Foundation. In addition, it was supported in part by the National Institute of Drug Abuse (1RO1-DA021280) awarded to Allen S. Levine.
- Food intake