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Keywords:

  • energy balance;
  • obesity;
  • reactive oxygen species;
  • uncoupling proteins

Abstract

Food intake is a major physiological function in animals and must be entrained to the circadian oscillations in food availability. In the last two decades a growing number of reports have shed light on the hormonal, cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in the regulation of food intake. Brain areas located in the hypothalamus have been shown to play a pivotal role in the regulation of energy metabolism, controlling energy balance. In these areas, neuronal plasticity has been reported that is dependent upon key hormones, such as leptin and ghrelin, that are produced by peripheral organs. This review will provide an overview of recent discoveries relevant to understanding these issues.