Cell metabolism | 14 Jul 2016
QP Wang, YQ Lin, L Zhang, YA Wilson, LJ Oyston, J Cotterell, Y Qi, TM Khuong, N Bakhshi, Y Planchenault, DT Browman, MT Lau, TA Cole, AC Wong, SJ Simpson, AR Cole, JM Penninger, H Herzog and GG Neely
Non-nutritive sweeteners like sucralose are consumed by billions of people. While animal and human studies have demonstrated a link between synthetic sweetener consumption and metabolic dysregulation, the mechanisms responsible remain unknown. Here we use a diet supplemented with sucralose to investigate the long-term effects of sweet/energy imbalance. In flies, chronic sweet/energy imbalance promoted hyperactivity, insomnia, glucose intolerance, enhanced sweet taste perception, and a sustained increase in food and calories consumed, effects that are reversed upon sucralose removal. Mechanistically, this response was mapped to the ancient insulin, catecholamine, and NPF/NPY systems and the energy sensor AMPK, which together comprise a novel neuronal starvation response pathway. Interestingly, chronic sweet/energy imbalance promoted increased food intake in mammals as well, and this also occurs through an NPY-dependent mechanism. Together, our data show that chronic consumption of a sweet/energy imbalanced diet triggers a conserved neuronal fasting response and increases the motivation to eat.
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