Article révisé par les pairs
Résumé : The hypothalamus is among the most phylogenetically conserved regions in the vertebrate brain, reflecting its critical role in maintaining physiological and behavioural homeostasis. By integrating signals arising from both the brain and periphery, it governs a litany of behaviourally important functions essential for survival. In particular, the lateral hypothalamic area (LHA) is central to the orchestration of sleep–wake states, feeding, energy balance and motivated behaviour. Underlying these diverse functions is a heterogeneous assembly of cell populations typically defined by neurochemical markers, such as the well-described neuropeptides hypocretin/orexin and melanin-concentrating hormone. However, anatomical and functional evidence suggests a rich diversity of other cell populations with complex neurochemical profiles that include neuropeptides, receptors and components of fast neurotransmission. Collectively, the LHA acts as a hub for the integration of diverse central and peripheral signals and, through complex local and long-range output circuits, coordinates adaptive behavioural responses to the environment. Despite tremendous progress in our understanding of the LHA, defining the identity of functionally discrete LHA cell types, and their roles in driving complex behaviour, remain significant challenges in the field. In this review, we discuss advances in our understanding of the neurochemical and cellular heterogeneity of LHA neurons and the recent application of powerful new techniques, such as opto- and chemogenetics, in defining the role of LHA circuits in feeding, reward, arousal and stress. From pioneering work to recent developments, we review how the interrogation of LHA cells and circuits is contributing to a mechanistic understanding of how the LHA coordinates complex behaviour. (Figure presented.).