Meye lab

The neural circuits underlying stress eating

Our research focuses on afflictions of the nervous system in which reward seeking plays a key role, such as disorders of binge eating (ravenous intake of a lot of food in a short period of time) and drug addiction. These are prevalent problems that unfortunately can have very negative outcomes for those affected, as treatment options are often inadequate.

A particularly problematic feature of these conditions is their ‘relapsing’ nature. Patients can temporarily suppress undesirable behavior (e.g. the binge-eating), but unfortunately tend to remain vulnerable to triggers in the environment that rekindle it. Stressful events in particular can be potent triggers in this regard (i.e. causing stress eating of ‘comfort foods’).

One of the main goals of the lab is to understand how stressful events manage to have such a strong influence on reward systems of the brain to promote the intake of (food) rewards. To this end we perform research in rodents, who share with humans the evolutionarily conserved neural systems responsible for integrating information about stress and rewards. We strive to use the insights we obtain to devise intervention strategies to counteract dysfunctional brain circuit plasticity and excessive reward seeking.

Dr. Frank Meye

Group members

Louisa Linders – PhD candidate
My research focuses on unraveling Ventral Tegmental Area dopamine circuits involved in stress eating.
Ex vivo electrophysiology; patch clamp, (in vivo) optogenetics, local drug infusion.

Ioannis Koutlas – PhD candidate
My research aims at understanding how neuronal ensembles in the ventral tegmental area integrate information arising from aversive and rewarding experiences.

Behavior, chemo- and optogenetics, fiber photometry

Laura Supiot
Laura Supiot – PhD candidate
My research aims to define how the cortical control over feeding centers is altered by stress.

In vitro electrophysiology, optogenetics.

Wenjie Du – PhD candidate
Unravelling the role of opioid modulation of striatohypothalamic pathways in the context of stress eating

Electrophysiology, fiber photometry, optogenetics, chemogenetics

Roberto D’Angelo – PhD candidate
Studying cell function cell by cell

Electrophysiology, optogenetics

Dr. Danai Riga – Postdoc
My research focuses on endogenous stress-protective systems. In particular, I investigate how Neuropeptide Y curbs the stress response to prevent stress-induced anxiety.

Slice electrophysiology, in vivo opto- / chemo-genetics, microscopy

Dr. Evelien Schut – Postdoc
I am interested in how dopamine-sensitive cortical pathways contribute to impulsive behavior and how stress affects these systems.

Fiber photometry, DREADDs, pharmacology

Dr. Rogier Poorthuis – Postdoc
My research is aimed at delineating how prefrontal cortical microcircuits regulate food intake and how this system is affected by stress.

In vivo electrophysiology, optogenetics, neural tracing

I.G. Wolterink-Donselaar – Research-technician
Practical assistance of PhD-students and Postdocs in their scientific careers.

Recent papers

  1. Linders, L. E., Patrikiou, L., Soiza-Reilly, M., Schut, E. H. S., Van Schaffelaar, B. F., Böger, L., Wolterink-Donselaar, I. G., Luijendijk, M. C. M., Adan, R. A. H. & Meye, F. J.* (2022). Stress-driven potentiation of lateral hypothalamic synapses onto ventral tegmental area dopamine neurons causes increased consumption of palatable food. Nature Communications, 13(1):6898. doi: 10.1038/s41467-022-34625-7. PMID: 36371405
  2. Linders, L. E#., Supiot, L. F#., Du, W., D’Angelo, R., Adan, R. A. H., Riga, D.*, & Meye, F. J.* (2022). Studying synaptic connectivity and strength with optogenetics and patch-clamp electrophysiology. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 23(19):11612. doi: 10.3390/ijms231911612. PMID: 36371405 # = equal contribution; * = corresponding authors
  3. Koutlas, I., Linders, L. E., Van der Starre, S. E., Wolterink-Donselaar, I. G., Adan, R. A. H., & Meye, F. J. (2022). Characterizing and TRAPing a Social Stress-activated Neuronal Ensemble in the Ventral Tegmental Area. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 10.3389/fnbeh.2022.936087. eCollection 2022. PMID: 35874648
  4. Montalban E, Giralt A, Taing L, Schut EHS, Supiot LF, Castell L, Nakamura Y, de Pins B, Pelosi A, Goutebroze L, Tuduri P, Wang W, Neiburga KD, Vestito L, Castel J, Luquet S, Nairn AC, Hervé D, Heintz N, Martin C, Greengard P, Valjent E, Meye FJ, Gambardella N, Roussarie JP, Girault JA. Translational profiling of mouse dopaminoceptive neurons reveals region-specific gene expression, exon usage, and striatal prostaglandin E2 modulatory effects. Mol Psychiatry. 2022 Apr;27(4):2068-2079. doi: 10.1038/s41380-022-01439-4. Epub 2022 Feb 18. PMID: 35177825
  5. Omrani A, de Vrind VAJ, Lodder B, Stoltenborg I, Kooij K, Wolterink-Donselaar IG, Luijendijk-Berg MCM, Garner KM, Van’t Sant LJ, Rozeboom A, Dickson SL, Meye FJ, Adan RAH. Identification of Novel Neurocircuitry Through Which Leptin Targets Multiple Inputs to the Dopamine System to Reduce Food Reward Seeking. Biol Psychiatry. 2021 Dec 15;90(12):843-852. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2021.02.017. Epub 2021 Feb 23. PMID: 33867112
  6. Willems J, de Jong APH, Scheefhals N, Mertens E, Catsburg LAE, Poorthuis RB, de Winter F, Verhaagen J, Meye FJ, MacGillavry HD. ORANGE: A CRISPR/Cas9-based genome editing toolbox for epitope tagging of endogenous proteins in neurons. PLoS Biol. 2020 Apr 10;18(4):e3000665. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3000665. PMID: 32275651
  7. Soiza-Reilly M, Meye FJ, Olusakin J, Telley L, Petit E, Chen X, Mameli M, Jabaudon D, Sze JY, Gaspar P. SSRIs target prefrontal to raphe circuits during development modulating synaptic connectivity and emotional behavior. Mol Psychiatry. 2019 May;24(5):726-745. doi: 10.1038/s41380-018-0260-9. Epub 2018 Oct 2. Erratum in: Mol Psychiatry. 2019 Jan 10. PMID: 30279456
  8. Tan D, Nuno-Perez A, Mameli M, Meye FJ. Cocaine withdrawal reduces GABAB R transmission at entopeduncular nucleus – lateral habenula synapses. Eur J Neurosci. 2019 Aug;50(3):2124-2133. doi: 10.1111/ejn.14120. Epub 2018 Sep 6. PMID: 30118546
  9. Meye FJ, Soiza-Reilly M, Smit T, Diana MA, Schwarz MK, Mameli M. Shifted pallidal co-release of GABA and glutamate in habenula drives cocaine withdrawal and relapse. Nat Neurosci. 2016 Aug;19(8):1019-24. doi: 10.1038/nn.4334. Epub 2016 Jun 27. PMID: 27348214
  10. Meye FJ, Valentinova K, Lecca S, Marion-Poll L, Maroteaux MJ, Musardo S, Moutkine I, Gardoni F, Huganir RL, Georges F, Mameli M. Cocaine-evoked negative symptoms require AMPA receptor trafficking in the lateral habenula. Nat Neurosci. 2015 Mar;18(3):376-8. doi: 10.1038/nn.3923. Epub 2015 Feb 2. PMID: 25643299
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