美国科学家发现能预测口渴并及时调节的神经元
科学网 · 2016/08/11
一个美国研究小组报告称,他们在小鼠大脑中发现了一种能够预测口渴并提前对体液平衡进行调节的神经元。

该发现有助于解释为什么吃得太快会让我们感觉口渴以及冷饮为何特别解渴。相关论文发表在最新一期的《自然》杂志上。

口渴一向被视为对血容量或血液浓度变化的稳定反应,驱使动物饮水以维持体液平衡。大多数时候,喝水之后口渴的感觉就会很快消失,但水分真正补充到体液当中至少需要十分钟的时间。这个时间差表明,口渴的感觉不太可能完全是由血液成分来进行控制和调节的。

在新的研究中,美国加利福尼亚大学旧金山分校的扎卡里·奈德及同事报告称,他们是在小鼠脑内穹窿下器中发现这种神经元的。该神经元在对口渴的调节中发挥着重要的作用,甚至能在体液不平衡现象发生前作出预测。

奈德的小组设计了一套实验装置,能够对小鼠血液、大脑神经元活动、环境温度以及进食饮水状况进行实时监测。结果他们发现,这种神经元能够在监控血液的同时根据小鼠所处的环境以及进食、饮水情况对信号做出调整。

研究发现,即使没有喝水,单纯降低舌头的温度也可以抑制口渴的感觉,而进食越快越多,口渴的感觉就会越发强烈,这可能都与新发现的这种神经元相关。

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  • Thirst neurons anticipate the homeostatic consequences of eating and drinking

    Thirst motivates animals to drink in order to maintain fluid balance. Thirst has conventionally been viewed as a homeostatic response to changes in blood volume or tonicity1, 2, 3. However, most drinking behaviour is regulated too rapidly to be controlled by blood composition directly, and instead seems to anticipate homeostatic imbalances before they arise4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11. How this is achieved remains unknown. Here we reveal an unexpected role for the subfornical organ (SFO) in the anticipatory regulation of thirst in mice. By monitoring deep-brain calcium dynamics, we show that thirst-promoting SFO neurons respond to inputs from the oral cavity during eating and drinking and then integrate these inputs with information about the composition of the blood. This integration allows SFO neurons to predict how ongoing food and water consumption will alter fluid balance in the future and then to adjust behaviour pre-emptively. Complementary optogenetic manipulations show that this anticipatory modulation is necessary for drinking in several contexts. These findings provide a neural mechanism to explain longstanding behavioural observations, including the prevalence of drinking during meals10, 11, the rapid satiation of thirst7, 8, 9, and the fact that oral cooling is thirst-quenching

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