About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

Oxytocin Modulates Brain's Reward Responses to Food

by Ramya Rachamanti on March 25, 2019 at 4:03 PM
Font : A-A+

Oxytocin Modulates Brain's Reward Responses to Food

Oxytocin decreases the communication between various brain areas associated with the cognitive, sensory and emotional processing of food cues that people with obesity reveal when they look at high-calorie rewarding foods, paving a new way for treating obesity, according to the research being presented at ENDO 2019, the Endocrine Society's annual meeting in New Orleans, La.

The work may bring the synthetic nasal formulation of oxytocin a step closer to possible use as a new obesity treatment. Known more for its role in social bonding, childbirth and breastfeeding, oxytocin is a naturally occurring hormone in the body that is also important for controlling food intake and weight. Past research shows that oxytocin nasal spray, which is not yet approved in the United States, acts on brain pathways involved in eating behavior and decreases food consumption in men.

Advertisement


"Knowing how the drug exerts its effects is a critical step toward establishing oxytocin as a drug treatment for overeating and obesity," said the study's lead investigator, Liya Kerem, M.D., M.Sc., a pediatric endocrinology fellow at MassGeneral Hospital for Children and a research fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Mass. "This study is exciting because it shows that oxytocin modulates the pathways in the brain specifically during their responses to highly palatable, rewarding foods."

The goal of the new study, according to Kerem, was to examine the network of reward brain regions that oxytocin affects. Building on their prior findings demonstrating that oxytocin reduces activation of the ventral tegmental area (VTA), a core region of the brain's reward system, the investigators used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), a neuroimaging technique used in research that measures brain activity by detecting changes associated with blood flow, to investigate how oxytocin impacts the functional connectivity between the VTA and the rest of the brain.
Advertisement

In this study, 10 healthy but overweight or obese young men randomly received a different treatment during two visits to the research lab. At each visit, the men self-administered a single dose of either oxytocin nasal spray or a placebo dummy drug after fasting. All were unaware of which treatment they received. Oxytocin reportedly had no side effects in this study, which was funded by the Nutrition Obesity Research Center at Harvard, the Boston Nutrition Obesity Research Center and the National Institutes of Health.

An hour after drug administration, the men underwent fMRI while they viewed images of high-calorie foods as well as pictures of low-calorie foods and nonfood objects.

"Individuals with obesity, compared to lean people, have abnormally hyperactivated brain reward areas when viewing high-calorie food images, even when they are full, suggesting an explanation for the observed behavior of overeating and a potential target for treatment with medications such as oxytocin," Kerem said.

Compared to placebo, oxytocin weakened the functional connectivity--the effective coordination between neural systems in response to a task--between the VTA and associated food motivation brain areas when participants viewed pictures of high-calorie food.

Source: Eurekalert
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Ways to Manage Stress during COVID-19 Pandemic
Can Adjusting Fatty Acid Intake Improve Mood in Bipolar Disorder Patients?
Insulin Resistance Doubles the Risk of Major Depressive Disorder
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Why Do We Eat - Nutrition Facts Diet Lifestyle and Heart Disease Phobias Persistent Sexual Arousal Syndrome Hunger Fullness and Weight Control Label Lingo on Food Items: Decoded Pain Management During Labor Tips for Healthy Fasting During Ramadhan Top Diet Foods that Make you Fat Top Food for Dieters 

Recommended Reading
Oxytocin Nasal Spray Strengthens Mothers' Neural Responses
Administration of intranasal oxytocin can help increase emotion recognition and brain activity ......
Hunger Fullness and Weight Control
An erratic way of eating or any metabolic disturbance in the hunger fullness signals is one of the m...
Label Lingo on Food Items: Decoded
Read on to become a “pro” in “label reading” and don’t get tricked by fancy promotions of food produ...
Pain Management During Labor
The labor pain or pain of childbirth is considered as the one of the most severe types of pain. It w...
Persistent Sexual Arousal Syndrome
Persistent sexual arousal syndrome (PSAS) relates to women''s sexual health where women experience u...
Phobias
A phobia is an irrational and exaggerated fear of an object or a situation that in reality, poses li...
Tips for Healthy Fasting During Ramadhan
Ramadhan calls for a change in your food habits, and to help you glide through it easily, here we’ve...
Top Diet Foods that Make you Fat
Every nutrition fad comes with its share of diet foods. While they seem healthy, many diet foods pro...
Top Food for Dieters
A diet food contains protein, fiber and good fats, which help in weight management. Diet foods if co...
Why Do We Eat - Nutrition Facts
The importance of eating food and the physiological, psychological and social functions of food....

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use