Elucidation of the Anatomy of a Satiety Network: Focus on Connectivity of the Parabrachial Nucleus in the Adult Rat

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Abstract

We hypothesized that brain regions showing neuronal activation after refeeding comprise major nodes in a satiety network, and tested this hypothesis with two sets of experiments. Detailed c-Fos mapping comparing fasted and refed rats was performed to identify candidate nodes of the satiety network. In addition to well-known feeding-related brain regions such as the arcuate, dorsomedial, and paraventricular hypothalamic nuclei, lateral hypothalamic area, parabrachial nucleus (PB), nucleus of the solitary tract and central amygdalar nucleus, other refeeding activated regions were also identified, such as the parastrial and parasubthalamic nuclei. To begin to understand the connectivity of the satiety network, the interconnectivity of PB with other refeeding-activated neuronal groups was studied following administration of anterograde or retrograde tracers into the PB. After allowing for tracer transport time, the animals were fasted and then refed before sacrifice. Refeeding-activated neurons that project to the PB were found in the agranular insular area; bed nuclei of terminal stria; anterior hypothalamic area; arcuate, paraventricular, and dorsomedial hypothalamic nuclei; lateral hypothalamic area; parasubthalamic nucleus; central amygdalar nucleus; area postrema; and nucleus of the solitary tract. Axons originating from the PB were observed to closely associate with refeeding-activated neurons in the agranular insular area; bed nuclei of terminal stria; anterior hypothalamus; paraventricular, arcuate, and dorsomedial hypothalamic nuclei; lateral hypothalamic area; central amygdalar nucleus; parasubthalamic nucleus; ventral posterior thalamic nucleus; area postrema; and nucleus of the solitary tract. These data indicate that the PB has bidirectional connections with most refeeding-activated neuronal groups, suggesting that short-loop feedback circuits exist in this satiety network. J. Comp. Neurol. 524:2803–2827, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Using c-Fos as a marker of neuronal activation and tract tracing methods, the refeeding-activated neuronal groups and the interconnection of the parabrachial nucleus (PB) with other refeeding-activated neuronal groups were mapped. One of the refeeding-activated neuronal populations that projects to the PB is the parasubthalamic nucleus.

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