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Central Regulation of Autonomic Functions$
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Ida J. Llewellyn-Smith and Anthony J. M. Verberne

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195306637

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195306637.001.0001

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Central Autonomic Control of Energy Homeostasis

Central Autonomic Control of Energy Homeostasis

(p.310) 17 Central Autonomic Control of Energy Homeostasis
Central Regulation of Autonomic Functions

Barry E. Levin

Alison M. Strack

Oxford University Press

Energy homeostasis, the balance of energy intake, assimilation, expenditure, and storage, is regulated by a distributed network of specialized metabolic sensing neurons that receive viscerosensory afferent input and hormonal and metabolic signals from the periphery. These neurons then activate autonomic pathways controlling physiological functions, metabolism, and hormone secretion. Leptin and insulin levels, which reflect the size of adipose stores, act centrally to inhibit food intake and increase sympathetically-mediated thermogenesis as adipose stores increase when energy intake exceeds expenditure. As stores are depleted during fasting, leptin and insulin promote hunger and food seeking. The effects of leptin and insulin on metabolic sensing neurons are modulated by autonomic afferent, gut hormone and metabolic substrate feedback. This finely controlled regulation of energy and glucose homeostasis is perturbed by the superimposition of obesity and diabetes, particularly in genetically predisposed individuals.

Keywords:   food intake, thermogenesis, metabolic sensing, leptin, insulin

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