Feeding specific glutamate surge in the rat lateral hypothalamus revealed by low-flow push–pull perfusion

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Substantial evidence implicates the lateral hypothalamus (LH) in the control of ingestive behavior and previous studies have found that glutamate release within the LH increases during meals. It is not known, however, whether this effect is selective for feeding, or whether similar changes are also seen during drinking. In this work, we examined this question using low-flow push–pull perfusion which allows sampling from small tissue volumes. Presentation of highly palatable solid or liquid foods to food-deprived rats resulted in an immediate increase in glutamate output of more than 200% over baseline. The response was maximal immediately after food presentation. In contrast, significant changes in glutamate output were not seen when water was presented to water-deprived animals, despite the occurrence of vigorous drinking. These findings confirm reports of feeding related glutamate release in the LH and demonstrate that this effect is specific to feeding, rather than being a general concomitant of all ingestive behaviors. The push–pull technique described here may allow the relevant region of the LH to be identified with greater precision than other methods.

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