3 years ago

When do we eat? Ingestive behavior, survival, and reproductive success

The neuroendocrinology of ingestive behavior is a topic central to human health, particularly in light of the prevalence of obesity, eating disorders, and diabetes. The study of food intake in laboratory rats and mice has yielded some useful hypotheses, but there are still many gaps in our knowledge. Ingestive behavior is more complex than the consummatory act of eating, and decisions about when and how much to eat usually take place in the context of potential mating partners, competitors, predators, and environmental fluctuations that are not present in the laboratory. We emphasize appetitive behaviors, actions that bring animals in contact with a goal object, precede consummatory behaviors, and provide a window into motivation. Appetitive ingestive behaviors are under the control of neural circuits and neuropeptide systems that control appetitive sex behaviors and differ from those that control consummatory ingestive behaviors. Decreases in the availability of oxidizable metabolic fuels enhance the stimulatory effects of peripheral hormones on appetitive ingestive behavior and the inhibitory effects on appetitive sex behavior, putting a new twist on the notion of leptin, insulin, and ghrelin “resistance.” The ratio of hormone concentrations to the availability of oxidizable metabolic fuels may generate a critical signal that schedules conflicting behaviors, e.g., mate searching vs. foraging, food hoarding vs. courtship, and fat accumulation vs. parental care. In species representing every vertebrate taxa and even in some invertebrates, many putative “satiety” or “hunger” hormones function to schedule ingestive behavior in order to optimize reproductive success in environments where energy availability fluctuates.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0018506X13001438

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