Obesity and anxiety are public health problems that have no effective cure. Obesity-induced anxiety is also the most common behavioural trait exhibited amongst obese patients, with the mechanisms linking these disorders being poorly understood. The hypothalamus and hippocampus are reciprocally connected, important neurogenic brain regions that could be vital to understanding these disorders. Dietary, physical activity and lifestyle interventions have been shown to be able to enhance neurogenesis within the hippocampus, while the effects thereof within the hypothalamus is yet to be ascertained. This review describes hypothalamic neurogenesis, its impairment in obesity as well as the effect of interventional therapies. Obesity is characterized by a neurogenic shift towards neuropeptide Y neurons, promoting appetite and weight gain. While, nutraceuticals and exercise promote proopiomelanocortin neuron proliferation, causing diminished appetite and reduced weight gain. Through the furthered development of multimodal approaches targeting both these brain regions could hold an even greater therapeutic potential.
Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Inc.