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.