Lost in Translation? On the Need for Convergence in Animal and Human Studies on the Role of Dopamine in Diet-Induced Obesity

Lieneke K. Janssen, Nadine Herzog, Maria Waltmann, Nora Breuer, Kathleen Wiencke, Franziska Rausch, Hendrik Hartmann, Maria Poessel, Annette Horstmann

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleScientificpeer-review


Purpose of Review:
Animal and human studies suggest that diet-induced obesity and plasticity in the central dopaminergic system are linked. However, it is unclear whether observed changes depend on diet or obesity, and whether they are specific to brain regions and cognitive functions. Here, we focus on neural and cognitive changes in frontostriatal circuits.
Recent Findings:
Both diet and obesity affect dopaminergic transmission. However, site and direction of effects are inconsistent across species and studies. Non-specific changes are observed spanning all frontostriatal loops, from sensory input to motivated behaviour. Given the impact of peripheral signals on central dopaminergic signalling and the interaction between the frontostriatal loops, modulation of dopamine likely propagates through all loops and, thus, affects behaviour on various levels of complexity.
To improve convergence between animal and human studies on diet-induced obesity, animal studies should include sophisticated cognitive measures and diets resembling human obesogenic diets, and human studies should adopt diet interventions and longitudinal designs.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCurrent Addiction Reports
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)229–257
Number of pages29
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2019
MoE publication typeA2 Review article in a scientific journal

Fields of Science

  • 3111 Biomedicine
  • 515 Psychology

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