HBM1001 Anatomy And Physiology 1

HBM1001 Anatomy And Physiology 1

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HBM1001 Anatomy And Physiology 1

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HBM1001 Anatomy And Physiology 1

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Course Code: HBM1001
University: Victoria University

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Country: Australia


This assessment task requires you to describe the physiological (non-psychosocial) mechanisms that influence food intake. Include the following in your answer: hypothalamus, NTS, ghrelin, PYY, insulin, leptin, NPY, melanocortins, orexins, CRH and any other aspects that you feel are important in the regulation of short and long term control of hunger and satiety.
Your assignment must include the following:
Introduce the topic and detail the importance of understanding how the many hormonal and neural signals influence the processes of hunger and satiety.


Physiological mechanisms that influence food intake
Intake of food is known to be regulated by long term as well as short term physiological processes that are highly complex in nature. Such as system involves neuroendocrine pathways that are overlapping as well as distinct. Knowledge of food intake and satiety regulation is integral for gaining knowledge on body weight control. The present paper aims to describe the physiological mechanisms that influence food intake.
The hypothalamus is located in the brain of human body above the pituitary gland and underneath the thalamus. Though the same is a small part of the brain, a major role is played in the body as it influences the nervous and endocrine system. The central regulation of the intake of food in humans is organized in a systematic manner through a long-loop mechanism that involves obligatory processing in hypothalamic neuronal circuits, humoral signals and afferent neuronal pathways to the hypothalamus, and descending commands through vagal and spinal neurons to the body. The hypothalamus has two different centers having active involvement in the regulation of food intake; a feeding centre and a satiety centre. While the feeding centre is tonically active, the satiety centre is responsible for inhibiting the feeding centre when intake of food is to be stopped. Biological signals coming from the centers lead to changes in the individual’s feeding habits and sensation of hunger or fullness (Sherwood, 2010).
Ghrelin is a hormone that is secreted from the stomach at the time of active state of the feeding centre. This hormone plays an important role in hunger sensation of individuals. Under situation when the satiety center has an active state, the hormone synthesis is stopped, leading to a decreased appetite. Peptide YY (PYY), commonly known form of peptide tyrosine tyrosine is a product of thirty six amino acids known to be secreted from the colon and ileum. This peptide has a relationship with feeding. Secretion of this peptide has its action in a manner that feeding is inhibited. This is antagonist to the mode of action of ghrelin known to induce feeding through hunger sensation (Cummings, 2006).
Two distinct theories of food intake come into focus at this junction. As per the lipostatic theory, eating behavior is controlled to a great extent by the fat amount present in the body. Research indicates that the body attempts to maintain a balance of the eating behavior through the modulation of the brain. The underlying rationale is to maintain the weight of the body. In case there is an increase in the storage of fat, urge to eat is decreased. The hormone called leptin comes into focus in this regard. The adipocytes secrete this hormone which maintains the weight of the body. It further acts as a messenger between the brain and the adipose tissues. The second theory is the glucostatic theory which suggests that under the circumstance where there is high level of glucose, the feeding centre is inhibited. When there is a decrease in the blood glucose level as a result of insulin hormone excess, suppression of the satiety centre is prominent (Widmaier et al., 2015).
Nucleus tractus solitaries (NTS) refer to the group of sensory nuclei responsible for forming a column of grey matter found to be embedded in the medualla oblongata. The primary function of NTS is to provide to the individual the sensation of taste. The facial nerves are involved in this process and it is to be noted that a major part of the anterior section of the tongue is made of these nerves. Increased activity of the NTS increases the intake of food. In contrast, decreased activity leads to loss of urge to eat and the food might seem tasteless (Anderson et al., 2006).
A number of peptides are involved in the physiology of food intake. Neuropeptide Y (NPY) is composed of thirty six amino acids whose role is to act as a neurotransmitter between the brain and the automatic nervous system. Being a vasoconstrictor, NPY aids in the fat tissue buildup around the abdominal region. Leptin production is also impaired as a result of NPY which in turn leads to more intake of food. Melanocortins are the peptides that, after being released from the pituitary gland, act as the receptor for different corticotrophin hormones. Corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), formed by forty one amino acid peptide is actively involved in stress response. An excess amount of CRH leads to reduction in the level of NPY peptide, thereby reducing food intake. Orexin is known to build up the urge to eat. The mode of action is related to the ability to influence suppression of post-ingestive feedback. Leptin action can inhibit its activity while hypoglycemia and ghrelin can activate Orexin activity (Anderson et al., 2016).

Figure: Diagram showing the expression of appetite as the relationship between three levels of operations: the behavioral pattern, peripheral physiology and metabolism, and brain activity (Hopkins et al., 2016)
In conclusion, a number of physiological factors are involved in food intake regulation. It has been noticed that some of these biological factors have an association with each other. A detailed knowledge of these factors are crucial for further research.
Anderson, G. H., Aziz, A., & Samra, R. A. (2006). Physiology of food intake regulation: interaction with dietary components. In Protein and Energy Requirements in Infancy and Childhood(Vol. 58, pp. 133-145). Karger Publishers.
Anderson, G. H., Hunschede, S., Akilen, R., & Kubant, R. (2016). Physiology of Food Intake Control in Children–. Advances in nutrition, 7(1), 232S-240S.
Cummings, D. E. (2006). Ghrelin and the short-and long-term regulation of appetite and body weight. Physiology & behavior, 89(1), 71-84.
Hopkins, M., Blundell, J., Halford, J., King, N., & Finlayson, G. (2016). The regulation of food intake in humans. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK278931/
Sherwood, L. (2010). Human Physiology from Cell to Systems (8th ed.). Cengage Learning. Belmont, CA, USA.
Widmaier, E., Raff, H., & Strang, K. (2015). Vander’s Human Physiology. Print.

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