Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 236, Issue 10, pp 2553–2562 | Cite as

Satiety-induced enhanced neuronal activity in the frontal operculum relates to the desire for food in the obese female brain

  • Saurabh Kumar
  • Felicitas Grundeis
  • Cristin Brand
  • Han-Jeong Hwang
  • Jan Mehnert
  • Burkhard PlegerEmail author
Research Article


In the present pilot study, we questioned how eating to satiety affects cognitive influences on the desire for food and corresponding neuronal activity in the obese female brain. During EEG recording, lean (n = 10) and obese women (n = 10) self-rated the ability to reappraise visually presented food. All women were measured twice, when hungry and after eating to satiety. After eating to satiety, reappraisal of food was easier than when being hungry. Comparing the EEG data of the sated to the hungry state, we found that only in obese women the frontal operculum was involved not only in the reappraisal of food but also in admitting the desire for the same food. The right frontal operculum in the obese female brain, assumed to primarily host gustatory processes, may be involved in opposing cognitive influences on the desire for food. These findings may help to find potential brain targets for non-invasive brain stimulation or neurofeedback studies that aim at modulating the desire for food.


Obesity Neuroscience Eating behaviors Central feeding regulation Central obesity 



We would like to thank Benjamin Blankertz, Klaus-Robert Müller, Gabriel Curio, Arne Ewald and Sven Dähne for fruitful discussions, Sylvia Stasch for support with the data acquisition, and Cate Hancock for proofreading. The study was funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) within the CRC Grant 1052 ‘ObesityMechanisms’ to project A06 (to BP, JM, HJH, SK, FG, CB) and to the CRC 874 ‘Integration and Representation of Sensory Processes’ to project A10 (to BP). The study was also funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) within the nutriCARD cluster to BP.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Saurabh Kumar
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  • Felicitas Grundeis
    • 1
    • 2
  • Cristin Brand
    • 1
    • 2
  • Han-Jeong Hwang
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Jan Mehnert
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  • Burkhard Pleger
    • 1
    • 2
    • 5
    • 6
    • 7
    Email author
  1. 1.Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain SciencesLeipzigGermany
  2. 2.Collaborative Research Centre 1052 “Obesity Mechanisms”University Hospital LeipzigLeipzigGermany
  3. 3.Department of Medical IT Convergence EngineeringKumoh National Institute of TechnologyGumiRepublic of Korea
  4. 4.Department of System NeuroscienceUniversal Medical CenterHamburgGermany
  5. 5.Department of NeurologyBG University Clinic Bergmannsheil, Ruhr-University BochumBochumGermany
  6. 6.Collaborative Research Centre 874 “Integration and Representation of Sensory Processes”Ruhr-University BochumBochumGermany
  7. 7.BMBF “nutriCARD”Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena (FSU)JenaGermany

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