These are a few of our most recent publications. Clicking a title reveals the reference, a link to the paper on PubMed or PubMed Central if full text is available, and the abstract. Bold font indicates authors who were graduate students in the lab at the time they contributed to the work.

Intermittent High-Fat Diet Intake Reduces Sensitivity to Intragastric Nutrient Infusion and Exogenous Amylin in Female Rats (2020)

Maske CB, Coiduras II, Ondriezek ZE, Terrill SJ, Williams DL. Intermittent High-Fat Diet Intake Reduces Sensitivity to Intragastric Nutrient Infusion and Exogenous Amylin in Female Rats. Obesity. 2020; 28(5):942-952.  doi:10.1002/oby.22779 PMID: 32237211 PubMed Link.  

Objective: Intermittent (INT) access to a high-fat diet (HFD) can induce excessive-intake phenotypes in rodents. This study hypothesized that impaired satiation responses contribute to elevated intake in an INT-HFD access model. Methods: First, this study characterized the intake and meal patterns of female rats that were subjected to an INT HFD in which a 45% HFD was presented for 20 hours every fourth day. To examine nutrient-induced satiation, rats received intragastric infusions of saline or Ensure Plus prior to darkness-onset food access. A similar design was used to examine sensitivity to the satiating effect of amylin. This study then examined whether an INT HFD influences amylin-induced c-Fos in feeding-relevant brain areas. Results: Upon INT HFD access, rats consumed meals of larger size. The anorexic response to intragastric Ensure infusion and exogenous amylin treatment was blunted in INT rats on both chow-only and INT-HFD days of the diet regimen, compared with chow-maintained and continuous-HFD rats. An INT HFD did not influence amylin-induced c-Fos in the area postrema, nucleus of the solitary tract, and lateral parabrachial nucleus.  Conclusions: Impaired satiation responses, mediated in part by reduced sensitivity to amylin, may explain the elevated intake observed upon INT HFD access and may play a role in disorders of INT overconsumption, including binge eating.

Hindbrain orexin 1 receptors blunt intake suppression by gastrointestinal nutrients and cholecystokinin in male rats (2020)

Williams DL, Coiduras II, Parise EM, Maske CB. Hindbrain orexin 1 receptors blunt intake suppression by gastrointestinal nutrients and cholecystokinin in male rats [published online ahead of print, 2020 Jun 21]. Peptides. 2020;133:170351. doi:10.1016/j.peptides.2020.170351 PMID: 32579900  PubMed Link.  

Hypothalamic orexin neurons project to many brain areas, including hindbrain structures such as the nucleus of the solitary tract (NTS) and area postrema (AP), where orexin 1 receptors (OX1Rs) are expressed. Hindbrain administration of orexin-A increases feeding and meal size, and blockade of hindbrain OX1Rs with the selective antagonist SB334867 has the opposite effect. Here we asked whether hindbrain OX1R stimulation or blockade alter rats' sensitivity to gastrointestinal satiety signals. Rats received 4th intracerebroventricular (icv) injections of vehicle or orexin-A, at a dose with no effect on its own, prior to an intragastric (IG) infusion of saline or a satiating volume of Ensure. IG Ensure suppressed subsequent chow intake, but orexin-A pretreatment significantly attenuated this IG nutrient-induced satiety at 2 h into the dark phase. In a second experiment, rats received NTS injections of vehicle or orexin-A before intraperitoneal (IP) injection of vehicle or the satiation hormone cholecystokinin (CCK). NTS orexin-A pretreatment completely blocked the intake-suppressive effect of CCK on dark-phase chow intake. Finally, we investigated the role of endogenous hindbrain OX1R activation by pretreating rats with 4th-icv injection of vehicle or SB334867 followed by IG infusion of saline or Ensure just before a chocolate Ensure licking test session. IG nutrient infusion suppressed Ensure intake, and blockade of hindbrain OX1Rs significantly prolonged that intake-suppressive effect. We conclude that hindbrain OX1Rs are a mechanism though which hypothalamic orexin neurons can reduce animals' sensitivity to gastrointestinal nutrient load, allowing them to consume more food.

Endogenous GLP-1 in lateral septum promotes satiety and suppresses motivation for food in mice (2019)

Terrill SJ, Holt MK, Maske CB, Abrams N, Reimann F, Trapp S, Williams DL. Endogenous GLP-1 in lateral septum promotes satiety and suppresses motivation for food in mice. Physiol Behav. 2019. doi:10.1016/j.physbeh.2019.04.008. PMID: 30980855  PubMed Link.  

Glucagon-like peptide 1 receptors (GLP-1R) are expressed in the lateral septum (LS) of rats and mice, and we have published that endogenous LS GLP-1 affects feeding and motivation for food in rats. Here we asked if these effects are also observed in mice. In separate dose-response studies using male C57Bl6J mice, intra-LS GLP-1 or the GLP-1R antagonist Exendin 9 (Ex9) was delivered shortly before dark onset, at doses subthreshold for effect when injected intracerebroventricularly (icv). Intra-LS GLP-1 significantly suppressed chow intake early in the dark phase and tended to reduce overnight intake. However, blockade of LS GLP-1R with Ex9 had no effect on ad libitum dark onset chow intake. We then asked if LS GLP-1R blockade blunts nutrient preload-induced intake suppression. Mice were trained to consume Ensure immediately before dark onset, which suppressed subsequent chow intake, and intra-LS Ex9 attenuated that preload-induced intake suppression. We also found that restraint stress robustly activates hindbrain GLP-1-producing neurons, and that LS GLP-1R blockade attenuates 30-min restraint stress-induced hypophagia in mice. Furthermore, we have reported that in the rat, GLP-1R in the dorsal subregion of the LS (dLS) affect motivation for food. We examined this in food-restricted mice responding for sucrose pellets on a progressive ratio (PR) schedule. Intra-dLS GLP-1R stimulation significantly suppressed, and Ex9 significantly increased, operant responding, and the Ex9 effect remained after mice returned to ad libitum conditions. Similarly, we found that stimulation of dLS GLP-1 suppressed licking for sucrose and conversely, Ex9 increased licking under ad libitum feeding conditions. Together, our data suggest that endogenous activation of LS GLP-1R plays a role in feeding in mice under some but not all conditions, and that these receptors strongly influence motivation for food.

Lateral septum growth hormone secretagogue receptor affects food intake and motivation for sucrose reinforcement. (2018)

Terrill SJ, Wall KD, Medina ND, Maske CB, Williams DL. Lateral septum growth hormone secretagogue receptor affects food intake and motivation for sucrose reinforcement.  Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2018 Jul 1;315(1):R76-R83. doi: 10.1152/ajpregu.00339.2017. PMID: 29590554  PubMed Link.  

The hormone ghrelin promotes eating and is widely considered to be a hunger signal. Ghrelin receptors, growth hormone secretagogue receptors (GHSRs), are found in a number of specific regions throughout the brain, including the lateral septum (LS), an area not traditionally associated with the control of feeding. Here we investigated whether GHSRs in the LS play a role in the control of food intake. We examined the feeding effects of ghrelin and the GHSR antagonists ([d-Lys3]-growth hormone-releasing peptide-6 and JMV-2959) at doses subthreshold for effect when delivered to the lateral ventricle. Intra-LS ghrelin significantly increased chow intake during the midlight phase, suggesting that pharmacological activation of LS GHSRs promotes feeding. Conversely, GHSR antagonist delivered to the LS shortly before dark onset significantly reduced chow intake. These data support the hypothesis that exogenous and endogenous stimulation of GHSRs in the LS influence feeding. Ghrelin is known to affect motivation for food, and the dorsal subdivision of LS (dLS) has been shown to play a role in motivation. Thus, we investigated the role of dLS GHSRs in motivation for food reward by examining operant responding for sucrose on a progressive ratio (PR) schedule. Intra-dLS ghrelin increased PR responding for sucrose, whereas blockade of LS GHSRs did not affect responding in either a fed or fasted state. Together these findings for the first time substantiate the LS as a site of action for ghrelin signaling in the control of food intake.

Intragastric nutrient infusion reduces motivation for food in male and female rats. (2018)

Maske CB, Loney GC, Lilly N, Terrill SJ, Williams DL. Intragastric nutrient infusion reduces motivation for food in male and female rats. Am J Physiol Regul Endocrinol Metab. 2018 Jul 1;315(1):E81-E90. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00308.2017. PMID: 29533738  PubMed Central Link.

The idea that gut-derived satiation signals influence food reward has recently gained traction, but this hypothesis is largely based on studies focused on neural circuitry, not the peripherally released signals. Here, we directly tested the hypothesis that intragastric (IG) nutrient infusion can suppress motivation for food. In a series of experiments, IG sucrose infusion (15 kcal) significantly and reliably reduced operant responding for a sucrose reward on a progressive ratio (PR) schedule. Moreover, food deprivation for 24 h before the test session did not prevent the suppressive effect of nutrients. The suppressive effect of IG sucrose on fixed ratio 5 (FR5) operant responding was also assessed as a comparison. The effect of IG nutrients to reduce motivation was not limited to sucrose; IG Ensure infusion (9.3 kcal) also significantly reduced PR operant responding for sucrose pellets. To verify that these effects were not secondary to the osmotic challenge of concentrated nutrients, we tested IG infusion of noncaloric saline solutions equiosmolar to 40% sucrose or Ensure and found no effect. Finally, we focused on glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and cholecystokinin (CCK) as candidate mediators for the effect of IG nutrients. Pretreatment with exendin-9, a GLP-1 receptor antagonist, delivered intraperitoneally, significantly attenuated the ability of IG nutrients to suppress PR responding and breakpoint in males, but not in females, whereas pretreatment with devazepide, a CCKA receptor antagonist, failed to do so in both sexes. Together, these data support the idea that nutrient-induced satiation signals influence food reward and may implicate GLP-1 in this process.

Endogenous GLP-1 in lateral septum contributes to stress-induced hypophagia. (2018)

Terrill SJ, Maske CB, Williams DL. Endogenous GLP-1 in lateral septum contributes to stress-induced hypophagia. Physiol Behav. 2018 Aug 1;192:17-22. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2018.03.001. PMID: 29510158  PubMed Central Link.  

Glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) neurons of the caudal brainstem project to many brain areas, including the lateral septum (LS), which has a known role in stress responses. Previously, we showed that endogenous GLP-1 in the LS plays a physiologic role in the control of feeding under non-stressed conditions, however, central GLP-1 is also involved in behavioral and endocrine responses to stress. Here, we asked whether LS GLP-1 receptors (GLP-1R) contribute to stress-induced hypophagia. Male rats were implanted with bilateral cannulas targeting the dorsal subregion of the LS (dLS). In a within-subjects design, shortly before the onset of the dark phase, rats received dLS injections of saline or the GLP-1R antagonist Exendin (9-39) (Ex9) prior to 30 min restraint stress. Food intake was measured continuously for the next 20 h. The stress-induced hypophagia observed within the first 30 min of dark was not influenced by Ex9 pretreatment, but Ex9 tended to blunt the effect of stress as early as 1 and 2 h into the dark phase. By 4-6 h, there were significant stress X drug interactions, and Ex9 pretreatment blocked the stress-induced suppression of feeding. These effects were mediated entirely through changes in average meal size; stress suppressed meal size while dLS Ex9 attenuated this effect. Using a similar design, we examined the role of dLS GLP-1R in the neuroendocrine response to acute restraint stress. As expected, stress potently increased serum corticosterone, but blockade of dLS GLP-1Rs did not affect this response. Together, these data show that endogenous GLP-1 action in the dLS plays a role in some but not all of the physiologic responses to acute stress. 

GLP-1 action in the mouse bed nucleus of the stria terminalis. (2018)

Williams DL, Lilly NA, Edwards IJ, Yao P, Richards JE, Trapp S. GLP-1 action in the mouse bed nucleus of the stria terminalis. Neuropharmacology. 2018 Mar 15;131:83-95. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2017.12.007. PMID: 29221794  Open Access Full Text at Journal.  

Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) injected into the brain reduces food intake. Similarly, activation of preproglucagon (PPG) cells in the hindbrain which synthesize GLP-1, reduces food intake. However, it is far from clear whether this happens because of satiety, nausea, reduced reward, or even stress. Here we explore the role of the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST), an area involved in feeding control as well as stress responses, in GLP-1 responses. Using cre-expressing mice we visualized projections of NTS PPG neurons and GLP-1R-expressing BNST cells with AAV-driven Channelrhodopsin-YFP expression. The BNST displayed many varicose YFP+ PPG axons in the ventral and less in the dorsal regions. Mice which express RFP in GLP-1R neurons had RFP+ cells throughout the BNST with the highest density in the dorsal part, suggesting that PPG neuron-derived GLP-1 acts in the BNST. Indeed, injection of GLP-1 into the BNST reduced chow intake during the dark phase, whereas injection of the GLP-1 receptor antagonist Ex9 increased feeding. BNST-specific GLP-1-induced food suppression was less effective in mice on high fat (HF, 60%) diet, and Ex9 had no effect. Restraint stress-induced hypophagia was attenuated by BNST Ex9 treatment, further supporting a role for endogenous brain GLP-1. Finally, whole-cell patch clamp recordings of RFP+ BNST neurons demonstrated that GLP-1 elicited either a depolarizing or hyperpolarizing reversible response that was of opposite polarity to that under dopamine. Our data support a physiological role for BNST GLP-1R in feeding, and suggest complex cellular responses to GLP-1 in this nucleus.   

Estradiol modulates the anorexic response to central glucagon-like peptide 1. (2017)

Maske CB, Jackson CM, Terrill SJ, Eckel LA, Williams DL. Estradiol modulates the anorexic response to central glucagon-like peptide 1. Hormones & Behavior. 2017 Jul;93:109-117. doi: 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2017.05.012. PMID: 28558993.  PubMed Central Link.

Estrogens suppress feeding in part by enhancing the response to satiation signals. Glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) acts on receptor populations both peripherally and centrally to affect food intake. We hypothesized that modulation of the central GLP-1 system is one of the mechanisms underlying the effects of estrogens on feeding. We assessed the anorexic effect of 0, 1, and 10μg doses of GLP-1 administered into the lateral ventricle of bilaterally ovariectomized (OVX) female rats on a cyclic regimen of either 2μg β-estradiol-3-benzoate (EB) or oil vehicle 30min prior to dark onset on the day following hormone treatment. Central GLP-1 treatment significantly suppressed food intake in EB-treated rats at both doses compared to vehicle, whereas only the 10μg GLP-1 dose was effective in oil-treated rats. To follow up, we examined whether physiologic-dose cyclic estradiol treatment influences GLP-1-induced c-Fos in feeding-relevant brain areas of OVX females. GLP-1 significantly increased c-Fos expression in the area postrema (AP) and nucleus of the solitary tract (NTS), and the presence of estrogens may be required for this effect in the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus (PVN). Together, these data suggest that modulation of the central GLP-1 system may be one of the mechanisms by which estrogens suppress food intake, and highlight the PVN as a region of interest for future investigation.

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