Food Circus: Mechanisms of neuronal circuits sensitivity to nutritional status

Leader: Guillaume Ferreira, DR2 INRAE

Deputy leader: Pierre Trifilieff, DR2 INRAE

Gui et Pierre_Arnaud3

Team presentation

The general objective of FoodCircus is to establish causal mechanistic links between nutrients biostatus and behavioral phenotypes/dimensions with symptomatic relevance for neurological and psychiatric disorders, through the identification of the underlying cellular/molecular mechanisms within discrete neuronal circuits. 

Investigators of FoodCircus focus on neuronal circuits within two main vulnerable brain systems: the hippocampal and fronto-striatal circuits which control cognitive processes such as mnemonic and executive functions. Nutrient status mainly concern saturated/unsaturated fats and the fat-soluble vitamin A, which have been consistently linked with the etiology of several brain disorders. This multidisciplinary research program is based on the following specific aims: 

i) To elucidate the neuronal mechanisms by which obesogenic diet impairs hippocampal-dependent memory. 

ii) To identify the mechanisms by which polyunsaturated fatty acids and vitamin A biostatus impact neuronal circuits modulated by dopamine transmission and related to executive functions.

Beyond the prerequisite for a better understanding of the processes by which nutrients biostatus can alter specific brain functions, the perspectives of such a project are to identify targetable factors for the alleviation or prevention of specific symptomatic dimensions of brain disorders.

Research axis

Main axis: 8 Nutrition and mental health

Secondary axis: 5 Brain, cognition and behaviour


Clémentine Bosch-Bouju, MCU Bordeaux INPP

Pauline Lafenêtre, MCU Bordeaux INP

Katia Touyarot, MCU Bordeaux INP

Technicians - Engineers

Serge Alfos, IE Bordeaux INP

Florencia Angelo, CDD IR INRAE

Céline Ducroix-Crépy, TR INRAE

Jean-Christophe Helbling, IE INRAE

Mylène Potier, IR Bordeaux Sciences Agro


Eva Ducourneau

Fabien Ducrocq

Zoé Mazurie

Anna Petibon


Pauline Couty

Alice Fermigier

Lola Hardt

Camille Ruffier


1- Biyong EF, Alfos S, Dumetz F, Helbling JC, Aubert A, Brossaud J, Foury A, Moisan MP, Layé S, Richard E, Patterson E, Murphy K, Rea K, Stanton C, Schellekens H, Cryan JF, Capuron L, Pallet V, Ferreira G. Dietary vitamin A supplementation prevents early obesogenic diet-induced microbiota, neuronal and cognitive alterations. International Journal of Obesity (London). 2021 Mar;45(3):588-598. doi: 10.1038/s41366-020-00723-z. Epub 2020 Nov 22. 

2- Andrianarivelo A, Saint-Jour E, Pousinha P, Fernandez SP, Petitbon A, De Smedt-Peyrusse V, Heck N, Ortiz V, Allichon MC, Kappès V, Betuing S, Walle R, Zhu Y, Joséphine C, Bemelmans AP, Turecki G, Mechawar N, Javitch JA, Caboche J, Trifilieff P, Barik J, Vanhoutte P. Disrupting D1-NMDA or D2-NMDA receptor heteromerization prevents cocaine's rewarding effects but preserves natural reward processing.Science Advances. 2021 Oct 22;7(43):eabg5970. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abg5970. Epub 2021 Oct 20. 

3- Salery M, Trifilieff P, Caboche J, Vanhoutte P. From Signaling Molecules to Circuits and Behaviors: Cell-Type-Specific Adaptations to Psychostimulant Exposure in the Striatum. Biological Psychiatry. 2020 Jun 1;87(11):944-953. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2019.11.001. Epub 2019 Nov 9. 

4- Ducrocq F, Walle R, Contini A, Oummadi A, Caraballo B, van der Veldt S, Boyer ML, Aby F, Tolentino-Cortez T, Helbling JC, Martine L, Grégoire S, Cabaret S, Vancassel S, Layé S, Kang JX, Fioramonti X, Berdeaux O, Barreda-Gómez G, Masson E, Ferreira G, Ma DWL, Bosch-Bouju C, De Smedt-Peyrusse V, Trifilieff P. Causal Link between n-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid Deficiency and Motivation Deficits. Cell Metabolism. 2020 Apr 7;31(4):755-772.e7. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2020.02.012. Epub 2020 Mar 5. 

5- Dumetz F, Buré C, Alfos S, Bonneu M, Richard E, Touyarot K, Marie A, Schmitter JM, Bosch-Bouju C, Pallet V. Normalization of hippocampal retinoic acid level corrects age-related memory deficits in rats. Neurobiology of Aging. 2020 Jan;85:1-10. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2019.09.016. Epub 2019 Sep 26. 

6- Bonhomme D, Alfos S, Webster SP, Wolff M, Pallet V, Touyarot K. Vitamin A deficiency impairs contextual fear memory in rats: Abnormalities in the glucocorticoid pathway. Journal of Neuroendocrinology. 2019 Nov;31(11):e12802. doi: 10.1111/jne.12802. Epub 2019 Nov 13. 

7- Terral G, Busquets-Garcia A, Varilh M, Achicallende S, Cannich A, Bellocchio L, Bonilla-Del Río I, Massa F, Puente N, Soria-Gomez E, Grandes P, Ferreira G*, Marsicano G*. CB1 Receptors in the Anterior Piriform Cortex Control Odor Preference Memory. Current Biology. 2019 Aug 5;29(15):2455-2464.e5. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2019.06.041. Epub 2019 Jul 18. 

8- Busquets-Garcia A, Oliveira da Cruz JF, Terral G, Pagano Zottola AC, Soria-Gómez E, Contini A, Martin H, Redon B, Varilh M, Ioannidou C, Drago F, Massa F, Fioramonti X, Trifilieff P, Ferreira G*, Marsicano G*. Hippocampal CB1 Receptors Control Incidental Associations. Neuron.2018 Sep 19;99(6):1247-1259.e7. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2018.08.014. Epub 2018 Aug 30.

9- Bensalem J, Dudonné S, Gaudout D, Servant L, Calon F, Desjardins Y, Layé S, Lafenetre P*, Pallet V*. Polyphenol-rich extract from grape and blueberry attenuates cognitive decline and improves neuronal function in aged mice. Journal of Nutritional Science. 2018 May 21;7:e19. doi: 10.1017/jns.2018.10. 

10- Bosch-Bouju C, Larrieu T, Linders L, Manzoni OJ, Layé S. Endocannabinoid-Mediated Plasticity in Nucleus Accumbens Controls Vulnerability to Anxiety after Social Defeat Stress. Cell Reports. 2016 Aug 2;16(5):1237-1242. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2016.06.082. Epub 2016 Jul 21. 

Modification date: 01 March 2024 | Publication date: 10 January 2022 | By: CJ