Hypothalamic and brainstem neuronal circuits controlling homeostatic energy balance

    1. Marc Claret1,3
    1. 1Diabetes and Obesity Research Laboratory, Institut d'Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS), 08036 Barcelona, Spain
      2Department of Endocrinology and Nutrition, School of Medicine, Hospital Clínic, University of Barcelona, 08036 Barcelona, Spain
      3Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Diabetes y Enfermedades Metabólicas Asociadas (CIBERDEM), 08036 Barcelona, Spain
    1. Correspondence should be addressed to M Claret; Email: MCLARET{at}clinic.ub.es


    Alterations in adequate energy balance maintenance result in serious metabolic disturbances such as obesity. In mammals, this complex process is orchestrated by multiple and distributed neuronal circuits. Hypothalamic and brainstem neuronal circuits are critically involved in the sensing of circulating and local factors conveying information about the energy status of the organism. The integration of these signals culminates in the generation of specific and coordinated physiological responses aimed at regulating energy balance through the modulation of appetite and energy expenditure. In this article, we review current knowledge on the homeostatic regulation of energy balance, emphasizing recent advances in mouse genetics, electrophysiology, and optogenetic techniques that have greatly contributed to improving our understanding of this central process.

    • Received in final form 29 October 2013
    • Accepted 7 November 2013
    • Made available online as an Accepted Preprint 12 November 2013
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