In a paper appearing online Thursday in the journal Science, researchers from Stanford University looked at the median preoptic nucleus - a region of the brain that previous research had suggested was linked to the sensation of thirst.
The Stanford team of researchers looked at the RNA expression within the median preoptic nucleus, which apart from thirst is also involved in other functions like regulation of sleep and response to decrease in the body's core temperature.
Some mice were trained to press a lever that would provide them access to water, and testing various permutations, the scientists found that "the rate of lever-pressing corresponded with a decrease in neural activity over time," which suggested that neuron activity in the median preoptic nucleus adjusts over time depending on the amount of water intake.
The research, however, does not suggest it is healthy or wise to artificially control your thirst by firing the responsible neuron cluster in your median preoptic nucleus.
This hypothalamic region is comprised primarily of the organum vasculosum of the lamina terminalis (OVLT), median preoptic nucleus (MnPO), and efferent fibers of the subfornical organ (SFO) .
Levisohn, "Afferent connections of the median preoptic nucleus in the rat: anatomical evidence for a cardiovascular integrative mechanism in the anteroventral third ventricular (AV3V) region," Brain Research, vol.
Johnson, "The effects of ibotenate lesions of the median preoptic nucleus on experimentally-induced and circadian drinking behavior in rats," Brain Research, vol.
Collister, "An intact median preoptic nucleus is necessary for chronic angiotensin II-induced hypertension," Brain Research, vol.
Collister, "Role of the median preoptic nucleus in chronic angiotensin II-induced hypertension," Brain Research, vol.