The role of mesolimbic opioids in food intake reward
Social Worker, Wayzata Public Schools, Minnesota
Undergraduate Institution and Major/Degree:
New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, BS, Biology, 1999
My research focuses on the mesolimbic reward pathway, between the ventral tegmental area and the nucleus accumbens. I study, in rats, the effects of opioids and dopamine in these sites on intake of normal meals and of palatable meals high in fat and sucrose.
Using microinjection techniques, I temporarily manipulate opioid and dopamine signaling in these sites and then observe the effects on quantity of food consumed and nutrient chosen. I also use immunohistochemistry to determine the effects on cells in these brain sites after consumption of highly palatable meals, either acutely or in a chronic, binge-like pattern. The general hypothesis is that excessive intake of palatable foods activates the same reward mechanisms as do drugs of abuse.
- Bob Elde
- Stan Thayer
- Allen Levine
Courses Taken Beyond the Core Courses:
- Preparing Future Faculty
- Neuroscience of Drug Abuse
- Neurobiology of Disease
Conferences Attended and Presentations:
- Society for Neuroscience annual meeting - Fall 2002, 2004
- Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior, Groningen, Netherlands, June 2003
- Winter Conference on Brain Research, Breckenridge, CO, January 2005
- William Engeland, Chair
- Cathy Kotz
- George Wilcox
- Will Thomas (Biostatistics department)
- A.M. Naleid, C.J. Billington, A.S. Levine, 2005. Differential effects of opioids on diet selection: intra-PVN and Acb injections. In preparation as of 3/20/05.
- A.M. Naleid, M.K. Grace, D.E. Cummings, A.S. Levine, 2005. Ghrelin induces feeding in the mesolimbic reward pathway between the ventral tegmental area and the nucleus accumbens. Peptides , in press.
- A.F. MacDonald, C.J. Billington, A.S. Levine, 2004. Alterations in food intake by opioid and dopamine signaling pathways between the ventral tegmental area and the shell of the nucleus accumbens. Brain Research 1018: 78-85.
- A.F. MacDonald, C.J. Billington, A.S. Levine, 2003. Effects of the opioid antagonist naltrexone on feeding induced by DAMGO in the ventral tegmental area and in the nucleus accumbens shell in the rat. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 285: R999-R1004.
Awards and Honors:
- 2003-2005 National Research Service Award Fellow
- Minnesota Craniofacial Research Training Program, National Institutes of Health
- 2003 Frederick M. Stark Travel Award to Eleventh Annual Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior conference in Groningen, Netherlands
- Society for Neuroscience
- Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior
- Eden Prairie, MN