Sophie Meillon

Sophie Meillon

AgreenSkills session, year: 1st session, 2012

Receiving laboratory: Experimental Pathology, UCD School of Medicine & Medical Science, Ireland

Country of origin : France




Mobility project

Mechanisms of changed appetitive and consummatory behaviour pertaining to food, induced by gastric bypass surgery in humans

Gastric bypass surgery (RYGB) modifies preferences towards less sweet and fatty foods, but the underlying mechanism is not known. This project aimed to investigate the role of the exaggerated satiety gut hormone release on appetitive reward of sweet and fatty food after RYGB. We hypothesized that the modification of gut hormones induced by the surgery decreases the appetitive behaviour in RYGB patients. A double randomised blind controlled trial was carried out to compare the effect of subcutaneous injections of somatostatin analogue (octreotide) which blocks satiety gut hormone responses, and saline (control) on the appetitive reward value of sweet-fat candies in patients that have undergone RYGB and in normal weight subjects. Results showed that the appetitive behaviour for candy rewards was significantly increased when RYGB patients had previously received a subcutaneous injection of somatostatin as compared to a saline injection. This somatostatin-induced increase in appetitive behaviour for chocolate reward was not observed in normal weight control subjects. These results suggest that gut hormones may play a physiological role in the reduction of the appetitive reward value of sweet/fatty taste after RYGB. The understanding of this mechanism may lead to effective non-surgical treatments that aim to promote healthier food preferences in obesity.

Biography & research interests

Recent studies carried out in animal models have shown that taste perception, food preferences and reward can be influenced by hormones participating in the control of energy homeostasis (leptin, ghrelin, insulin, GLP-1). However, little is known about the impact of these hormones on human food behaviour. My research aims to understand the link between taste perception, food preferences, food behaviour and gut hormones/metabolites in humans, in relation with metabolic pathologies such as obesity and diabetes. Understanding further in-depth elucidation of these mechanisms would allow the management of food behaviour and weight loss in patients with obesity and/or diabetes.

After having been trained on food technology, nutrition and sensory perception in Polytech’Montpellier and AgroSup Dijon, I have carried out a PhD at the Centre for taste and feeding behaviour (CSGA) in Dijon (2006-2009). My PhD focused on the impact of alcohol reduction on the sensory perception of wines and their acceptability by consumers and was co-directed by Pascal Schlich and Marc Danzart. I was recruited as a researcher at CSGA by INRA after my PhD, in order to implement studies about sensory perception and food behaviour in relation to pathologies. As part of my research project at CSGA, I have spent 10 months (2012/2013) at University College Dublin with Carel le Roux to gain knowledge and experience on the physiopathology of obesity and to study an interesting model of gut hormone-induced food behaviour in humans i.e. obese patients that have had a gastric bypass surgery.

Selected publications

Brondel L, Jacquin A, Meillon S, Pénicaud, L. (2013).  Le goût : physiologie, rôles et dysfonctionnements. Nutrition clinique et métabolisme (In press).

Meillon S, Miras A, Le Roux C. (2013). Gastric by-pass surgery alters food preferences through the changes in the perception of taste. Clinical Practice 10 (4): 471-479

Meillon S, Thomas A, Pénicaud L, Brondel L. (2013) Sensory-specific satiety for a food is unaffected by the ad libitum intake of other foods during a meal. Is SSS subject to dishabituation? Appetite 63: 112-118

Pénicaud L, Meillon S, Brondel L. (2012). Leptin and the central control of feeding behavior. Biochimie 94(10):2069-2074.

Meillon S. (2011). De la perception sensorielle à la consommation du vin – Partie 2/2 : Les consommateurs de vins. Revue des œnologues n°138 : 48-50

Meillon S, Viala D, Medel M, Urbano C, Guillot G, Schlich P. (2010). Impact of partial alcohol reduction in Syrah wine on perceived complexity and temporality of sensations and link with preference. Food Quality and Preference 21(7): 732-740

Meillon S, Urbano C, Guillot G, Schlich P. (2010). Acceptability of partially dealcoholized wines – Measuring the impact of sensory and information cues on overall liking in real-life settings.  Food Quality and Preference 21(7): 763-773

Meillon S, Dugas V, Urbano C, Schlich P. (2010). Preference and acceptability of partially dealcoholized white and red wines by consumers and professionals. American Journal of Enology and Viticulture 61(1):42-52

Meillon S. (2010). De la perception sensorielle à la consommation du vin – Partie 1/2 : Mécanisme de la perception sensorielle : reflet de la réalité. Revue des œnologues n°137 : 51-57

Meillon S, Urbano C, Schlich P. (2010). Goût et acceptabilité des vins à teneur réduite en alcool. Revue des œnologues n°136 : 52-54

Meillon S, Urbano C, Schlich P. (2009). Contribution of the Temporal Dominance of Sensations (TDS) method to the sensory description of subtle differences in partially dealcoholized red wines. Food Quality and Preference, 20(7): 490-499