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Controlling feeding behavior by chemical or gene-directed targeting in the brain: what's so spatial about our methods?


ABSTRACT: Intracranial chemical injection (ICI) methods have been used to identify the locations in the brain where feeding behavior can be controlled acutely. Scientists conducting ICI studies often document their injection site locations, thereby leaving kernels of valuable location data for others to use to further characterize feeding control circuits. Unfortunately, this rich dataset has not yet been formally contextualized with other published neuroanatomical data. In particular, axonal tracing studies have delineated several neural circuits originating in the same areas where ICI injection feeding-control sites have been documented, but it remains unclear whether these circuits participate in feeding control. Comparing injection sites with other types of location data would require careful anatomical registration between the datasets. Here, a conceptual framework is presented for how such anatomical registration efforts can be performed. For example, by using a simple atlas alignment tool, a hypothalamic locus sensitive to the orexigenic effects of neuropeptide Y (NPY) can be aligned accurately with the locations of neurons labeled by anterograde tracers or those known to express NPY receptors or feeding-related peptides. This approach can also be applied to those intracranial "gene-directed" injection (IGI) methods (e.g., site-specific recombinase methods, RNA expression or interference, optogenetics, and pharmacosynthetics) that involve viral injections to targeted neuronal populations. Spatial alignment efforts can be accelerated if location data from ICI/IGI methods are mapped to stereotaxic brain atlases to allow powerful neuroinformatics tools to overlay different types of data in the same reference space. Atlas-based mapping will be critical for community-based sharing of location data for feeding control circuits, and will accelerate our understanding of structure-function relationships in the brain for mammalian models of obesity and metabolic disorders.

PROVIDER: S-EPMC3866545 | BioStudies | 2013-01-01T00:00:00Z

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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