PublicatiesRole of the striatal dopamine, GABA and opioid systems in mediating feeding and fat intake
Food intake, which is a highly reinforcing behavior, provides nutrients required for survival in all animals. However, when fat and sugars consumption goes beyond the daily needs, it can favor obesity. The prevalence and severity of this health problem has been increasing with time. Besides covering nutrient and energy needs, food and in particular its highly palatable components, such as fats, also induce feelings of joy and pleasure. Experimental evidence supports a role of the striatal complex and of the mesolimbic dopamine system in both feeding and food-related reward processing, with the nucleus accumbens as a key target for reward or reinforcing-associated signaling during food intake behavior. In this review, we provide insights concerning the impact of feeding, including fat intake, on different types of receptors and neurotransmitters present in the striatal complex. Reciprocally, we also cover the evidence for a modulation of palatable food intake by different neurochemical systems in the striatal complex and in particular the nucleus accumbens, with a focus on dopamine, GABA and the opioid system.