MCH Dependent Reward and Feeding

In our Electrophysiology and Behavior Laboratory, which operates as part of the Medipol University Regenerative and Restorative Medicine Research Center, the neural networks behind the events occurring in our body are examined.

Specific neurostimulation techniques such as optogenetics and chemogenetics are used to understand exactly how the nervous system performs a certain function, especially while examining vital functions in the hypothalamus nuclei and brain regions associated with the hypothalamus. The light-sensitive protein channels (opsins), which perceive the light coming to our eyes, are transferred specifically to the nerve cells whose function is to be known, and the target cells become sensitive to light. Thus, the cells whose functions are desired to be known are remotely controlled by the light source that is delivered to the region by a fiber optic cable, and their functions are tried to be understood in physiological conditions.

One of these studies was published a few days ago in the journal Neuroendocrinology. One of the most important issues about nutrition is that nutrition is a pleasurable activity. With this aspect, nutrition can appear as an addiction beyond the energy and building blocks that the body needs. It is thought that this addiction underlies the diseases that arise due to nutrition. Many chronic diseases, especially obesity, metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular diseases due to overnutrition, are an important public health problem as well as placing a serious economic and social burden on the society.

This study reveals that the pleasurable aspect of nutrition is governed by a group of nerve cells in the paraventricular nucleus, one of the nuclei of the hypothalamus. Of course, there are other studies that need to be done about the relationship between the pleasurable effects of nutrition and food addiction. However, we now know that the neurons in the paraventricular nucleus that secrete the Melanin Concentrating Hormone are one of the main actors in promoting this addiction.