In the brain there are multiple different neural pathways that can affect hunger. But there are rare neurons, that when damaged, cause obesity. One such neuron is the MC4R neuron. This neuron signals for satiety. The POMC neuron excits it and tells the brain that it has enough energy, it doesn't have to eat anything else. The AGRP neuron inhibits the MC4R neuron which then signals for hunger. When the MC4R neuron is silences, the body weight phenotype of the mice tested was doubled. There are numerous experimental methods that can be used to silence the neurons such as rAAV virus to insert diolox sites into the genome of the mouse. This would allow you to insert receptors to specific toxins that not all of the cells have, such as diptherioa toxin or tetnis toxin receptors. By doing this, inserting the toxin into that area of the brain would kill only the cells that succesfully recieved the receptor, causing a loss of function. Loss of function experiments are extrelely useful in determining the function of a specific neuron or neural pathway.
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