In: Physiology and Behavior
Abstract: The lateral hypothalamic area (LHA) is a heterogeneous brain structure extensively studied for its potent role in regulating energy balance. The anatomical and molecular diversity of the LHA permits the orchestration of responses to energy sensing cues from the brain and periphery. Two of the primary cell populations within the LHA associated with integration of this information are Orexin (ORX) and Melanin Concentrating Hormone (MCH). While both of these non-overlapping populations exhibit orexigenic properties, the activities of these two systems support feeding behavior through contrasting mechanisms. We describe the anatomical and functional properties as well as interaction with other neuropeptides and brain reward and hedonic systems. Specific outputs relating to arousal, food seeking, feeding, and metabolism are coordinated through these mechanisms. We then discuss how both the ORX and MCH systems harmonize in a divergent yet overall cooperative manner to orchestrate feeding behavior through transitions between various appetitive states, and thus offer novel insights into LHA allostatic control of appetite.