Amygdalar opioids modulate hypothalamic melanocortin-induced anorexia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


We wanted to assess the possibility that opioid activity in the central amygdala (CeA) could modulate the feeding inhibition of melanocortin stimulation of the paraventricular hypothalamus (PVN). The melanocortin system is important in both the acute regulation of satiety and feeding behavior and in the integration of long-term appetite signals. Melanotan II (MTII) is a synthetic MC3R and MC4R agonist which reduces food intake when given intracerebroventricularly (ICV) and into the PVN. Tyr-D-Ala-Gly-(me) Phe-Gly-ol (DAMGO), a μ-opioid receptor agonist, increases food intake, while opioid antagonists, like naltrexone (NTX), inhibit food intake after injection into many brain sites involved in appetite regulation, including the CeA. In food-deprived male Sprague-Dawley rats, co-injected intra-PVN MTII partially blocked the orexigenic effect of co-injected intra-CeA DAMGO. Intra-CeA NTX co-injected with intra-PVN MTII reduced food intake significantly more than either alone. NTX administered intra-CeA reduced c-Fos-immunoreactivity (IR) in nucleus accumbens neurons significantly compared to the intra-PVN MTII treated animals, animals co-injected intra-PVN with MTII and intra-CeA with NTX animals, and control animals. Intra-PVN MTII induced c-Fos-IR in significantly more PVN neurons than observed in control animals. Intra-CeA NTX co-injected with intra-PVN MTII induced c-Fos-IR significantly in PVN neurons relative to control and intra-CeA NTX animals. Such data support the significance of opioid action within the CeA as a modulator of the feeding regulation action of melanocortins within the PVN, occurring within the context of a larger appetitive network.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)568-573
Number of pages6
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
Issue number4-5
StatePublished - Mar 23 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Department of Veterans Affairs, National Institute of Drug Abuse Grant DA-03999, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Grants DK-50456 and T32-DK007203. We thank Martha Grace for her unrelenting technical assistance.


  • Amygdala
  • Brain
  • Food intake
  • Hypothalamus
  • Limbic
  • Melanocortins
  • Opioids
  • Reward


Dive into the research topics of 'Amygdalar opioids modulate hypothalamic melanocortin-induced anorexia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this