Fatty Acid-Induced Gut-Brain Signaling Lessens Sad Emotion

Fatty-acid infusion attenuates neural and behavioral responses to sad emotions in healthy humans

THURSDAY, July 28 (HealthDay News) -- Fatty acid-induced gut-brain signaling attenuates experimentally induced sad emotion at both the behavioral and neural levels in healthy individuals, according to a report published online July 25 in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Lukas Van Oudenhove, M.D., from the University of Leuven in Belgium, and colleagues studied the interaction between nutrient-induced gut-brain signaling and induced sad emotion. Musical and visual cues at the behavioral and neural level were used to induce sad emotion in 12 healthy nonobese individuals who underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging. After three minutes of emotion induction, the individuals were given an intragastric infusion of fatty acid solution or saline. Sensations of hunger, fullness, and mood were evaluated before the start of scanning, as well as at three different points during the process.

The investigators identified an association between fatty acid infusion and emotion induction in hunger and mood (behavioral readings), as well as at the neural activity level in multiple pre-hypothesized regions of interest. Fatty acid infusion was found to attenuate the behavioral and neural responses related to sad emotion.

"Fatty acid infusion attenuated both the behavioral and neural responses to sad emotion induction," the authors write. "Our results may have important implications for understanding the interplay among emotions, hunger, food intake, and meal-induced sensations in health and disorders such as obesity, eating disorders, functional dyspepsia, and depression."

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