Dual role of striatal astrocytes in behavioral flexibility and metabolism in the context of obesity

Enrica Montalban, Daniela Herrera Moro Chao, Anthony Ansoult, Cuong Pham, Andrea Contini, Julien Castel, Rim Hassouna, Marene Hardonk, Anna Petitbon, Ewout Foppen, Giuseppe Gangarossa, Pierre Trifilieff, Dongdong Li, Serge Luquet, Claire Martin
. 2023-03-23; :
DOI: 10.1101/2023.03.21.533596

Brain circuits involved in metabolic control and reward-associated behaviors are potent drivers of feeding behavior and are both dramatically altered in obesity, a multifactorial disease resulting from genetic and environmental factors. In both mice and human, exposure to calorie-dense food has been associated with increased astrocyte reactivity and pro-inflammatory response in the brain. Although our understanding of how astrocytes regulate brain circuits has recently flourish, whether and how striatal astrocytes contribute in regulating food-related behaviors and whole-body metabolism is still unknown. In this study, we show that exposure to enriched food leads to profound changes in neuronal activity and synchrony. Chemogenetic manipulation of astrocytes activity in the dorsal striatum was sufficient to restore the cognitive defect in flexible behaviors induced by obesity, while manipulation of astrocyte in the nucleus accumbens led to acute change in whole-body substrate utilization and energy expenditure. Altogether, this work reveals a yet unappreciated role for striatal astrocyte as a direct operator of reward-driven behavior and metabolic control.

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