Thirsty or not? Ask the neurons in your brain!

Source: Pixabay
Source: Pixabay

Researchers from Columbia University, New York, USA have identified two distinct genetically separable neural populations in the brain that trigger or suppress thirst. Previously, it was shown that neurons in the hypothalamus are activated by thirst-inducing conditions. The present study, published in the high impact journal Nature, shows that activation of subfornical organ excitatory neurons by light evokes intense drinking behaviour, and does so even in fully water-satiated animals. This induction is very specific to water, immediate and strictly only by the laser stimulus. However, activation of a second population of subfornical organ neurons, drastically suppresses drinking, even in water-craving thirsty animals. This study reveals an innate brain circuit that can either activate or suppress an animal’s water-drinking behavior. In the future, it will help us gain an insight into the complex neurons and help study about the centre for thirst control in the human brain.

The original article can be accessed here.

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Scientist-entrepreneur-manager-journalist: -Co-founder, Author; Former Assistant Editor and Director, Biotechin.Asia, Biotech Media Pte. Ltd.; -Founder & CEO, SciGlo (; -Programme Management Officer, SBIC, A*STAR (former Research Fellow). --Sandhya graduated from University of Madras, India (B.Sc Microbiology and M.Sc Biotechnology) and received her Ph.D from the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. She worked on oxidative stress in skin, skeletal, adipose tissue and cardiac muscle for a decade from 2006-2016. She is currently working as a Programme Management Officer handling projects and grants at Singapore Bioimaging Consortium (SBIC), Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). Earlier to this she was a Research Fellow in the Fat Metabolism and Stem Cell Group at SBIC. Sandhya was also the Vice President and Publicity Chair of A*PECSS (A*STAR Post Doc Society) (2014-2016). Recently she founded a platform for scientists - SciGlo ( and is a startup mentor at Vertical VC (Finland). She is an ardent lover of science and enjoys globe trotting and good vegetarian food.