Astrocyte: A Potential Target for the Treatment of Anorexia Nervosa

Yunlei Yang*

Astrocyte: A Potential Target for the Treatment of Anorexia Nervosa

Without homeostatic control of feeding behavior, energy balance will be disturbed
towards either energy surfeit or deficit, respectively, leading to obesity or wasting.

Anorexia Nervosa is a disorder characterized with food restriction and weight loss due to intense
fear of gaining weight and a distorted perception of body weight.

The individuals with anorexia believe they are fat and seek to prevent weight gain
by restricting the amount of energy intake even when they are starvation.

Anorexia and its associated disorders impose a huge burden to our society,
so treating and reversing anorexia are of paramount importance.

However, the underlying mechanisms of anorexia are poorly understood,
and there is a lack of effective treatments.

The nervous system consists of two classes of cells, neurons and glia.
Thus, it is important to define the integrative processes of neurons and glial cells
in the brain regions that control food intake.

It is well recognized that neurons play critical roles in controlling feeding
behavior and appetite, while little is known about glial influences on feeding.

Astrocytes, the most abundant glial cells in the brain, are closely associated with neuronal synapses to
scale synaptic strength and modulate neural circuits, as well as with cerebral blood vessels
to adjust blood supply.

Emerging evidence demonstrates the functional role of astrocytes in complex behaviors.
Interestingly, in response to high-fat diet feeding, astrocytes in
the ARC proliferate and express functional receptors for leptin,
adipocyte-derived anorexigenic peptide.

Neuro Open J. 2015; 2(1): 42-44. doi: 10.17140/NOJ-2-110