Gerry Smith's emphasis on the meal as the functional unit of ingestion spurred experiments designed to (1) identify oral and postoral stimuli that affect meal size, and (2) identify peripheral and central neural mechanisms involved in the processing of sensory signals generated by these stimuli. His observations that gut-brain peptides can limit meal size were important in formulating the idea that neuropeptides involved in the control of food intake modulate the peripheral and central neural processing of meal-stimulated sensory signals. This focus on meal size continues to foster the development of hypotheses and the design of experiments that characterize the sites and modes of action of feeding modulatory neuropeptides. These investigations have focused attention on the gut-brain neuraxis as a critical sensory pathway in the control of ingestive behavior, and have revealed important integrative properties of peripheral and central neurons along this axis. The neuromodulatory function of peptides that alter food intake is supported by their ability to recruit the activation of neurons at multiple central nodes of the gut-brain axis and to affect the neural processing and behavioral potency of meal-related gastrointestinal signals important in the negative feedback control of meal size. This sensory neurobiological perspective may also be applied to determine whether feeding modulatory neuropeptides affect the neural and behavioral potency of oral positive feedback signals that promote ingestion.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Behavioral Neuroscience