Biology

The homeostatic dynamics of feeding behaviour identify novel mechanisms of anorectic agents

by Thomas M. McGrath, Eleanor Spreckley, Aina Fernandez Rodriguez, Carlo Viscomi, Amin Alamshah, Elina Akalestou, Kevin G. Murphy, Nick S. Jones

Better understanding of feeding behaviour will be vital in reducing obesity and metabolic syndrome, but we lack a standard model that captures the complexity of feeding behaviour. We construct an accurate stochastic model of rodent feeding at the bout level in order to perform quantitative behavioural analysis. Analysing the different effects on feeding behaviour of peptide YY3-36 (PYY3-36), lithium chloride, glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), and leptin shows the precise behavioural changes caused by each anorectic agent. Our analysis demonstrates that the changes in feeding behaviour evoked by the anorectic agents investigated do not mimic the behaviour of well-fed animals and that the intermeal interval is influenced by fullness. We show how robust homeostatic control of feeding thwarts attempts to reduce food intake and how this might be overcome. In silico experiments suggest that introducing a minimum intermeal interval or modulating upper gut emptying can be as effective as anorectic drug administration.

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