Food odor value

Graded Encoding of Food Odor Value in the Drosophila Brain Jennifer Beshel and Yi Zhong
J. Neurosci. 2013;33 15693-15704

Odors are highly evocative, yet how and where in the brain odors derive meaning remains unknown. Our analysis of the Drosophila brain extends the role of a small number of hunger-sensing neurons to include food-odor value representation. In vivo two-photon calcium imaging shows the amplitude of food odor-evoked activity in neurons expressing Drosophila neuropeptide F (dNPF), the neuropeptide Y homolog, strongly correlates with food-odor attractiveness. Hunger elevates neural and behavioral responses to food odors only, although food odors that elicit attraction in the fed state also evoke heightened dNPF activity in fed flies. Inactivation of a subset of dNPF-expressing neurons or silencing dNPF receptors abolishes food-odor attractiveness, whereas genetically enhanced dNPF activity not only increases food-odor attractiveness but promotes attraction to aversive odors. Varying the amount of presented odor produces matching graded neural and behavioral curves, which can function to predict preference between odors. We thus demonstrate a possible motivationally scaled neural “value signal” accessible from uniquely identifiable cells.

“In characterizing the specificity of dNPF activity to specifically food-odor attraction behavior, we are able to support the idea that there may be discrete value-processing centers specialized to assess only a particular type of stimulus, even within the fly brain. We speculate that separate sets of neurons may responsible for, for example, sex-related value and thus mediate attraction behavior to the pheromone cVA, whereas other neuronal subsets may be responsible for attraction to other categories of odors.”

My Comment: Sex-related value and attraction behavior to the pheromone cVa is nutrient dependent because nutrients are metabolized to species-specific sex pheromones. Thus, the graded encoding of food odor value in the Drosophila brain extends well to the graded encoding of nutrient-dependent species-specific pheromones that control reproduction in species from microbes to man via conserved molecular mechanisms. There’s a model for that!

About James V. Kohl 1308 Articles
James Vaughn Kohl was the first to accurately conceptualize human pheromones, and began presenting his findings to the scientific community in 1992. He continues to present to, and publish for, diverse scientific and lay audiences, while constantly monitoring the scientific presses for new information that is relevant to the development of his initial and ongoing conceptualization of human pheromones. Recently, Kohl integrated scientific evidence that pinpoints the evolved neurophysiological mechanism that links olfactory/pheromonal input to genes in hormone-secreting cells of tissue in a specific area of the brain that is primarily involved in the sensory integration of olfactory and visual input, and in the development of human sexual preferences. His award-winning 2007 article/book chapter on multisensory integration: The Mind’s Eyes: Human pheromones, neuroscience, and male sexual preferences followed an award winning 2001 publication: Human pheromones: integrating neuroendocrinology and ethology, which was coauthored by disinguished researchers from Vienna. Rarely do researchers win awards in multiple disciplines, but Kohl’s 2001 award was for neuroscience, and his 2007 “Reiss Theory” award was for social science. Kohl has worked as a medical laboratory scientist since 1974, and he has devoted more than twenty-five years to researching the relationship between the sense of smell and the development of human sexual preferences. Unlike many researchers who work with non-human subjects, medical laboratory scientists use the latest technology from many scientific disciplines to perform a variety of specialized diagnostic medical testing on people. James V. Kohl is certified with: * American Society for Clinical Pathology * American Medical Technologists James V. Kohl is a member of: * Society for Neuroscience * Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology * Association for Chemoreception Sciences * Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality * International Society for Human Ethology * American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science * Mensa, the international high IQ society