Behavioral plasticity: Role of neuropeptides in shaping feeding responses

Allen S. Levine, David C. Jewett, Catherine M. Kotz, Pawel K. Olszewski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Behavioral plasticity refers to changes occurring due to external influences on an organism, including adaptation, learning, memory and enduring influences from early life experience. There are 2 types of behavioral plasticity: “developmental”, which refers to gene/environment interactions affecting a phenotype, and “activational” which refers to innate physiology and can involve structural physiological changes of the body. In this review, we focus on feeding behavior, and studies involving neuropeptides that influence behavioral plasticity - primarily opioids, orexin, neuropeptide Y, and oxytocin. In each section of the review, we include examples of behavioral plasticity as it relates to actions of these neuropeptides. It can be concluded from this review that eating behavior is influenced by a number of external factors, including time of day, type of food available, energy balance state, and stressors. The reviewed work underscores that environmental factors play a critical role in feeding behavior and energy balance, but changes in eating behavior also result from a multitude of non-environmental factors, such that there can be no single mechanism or variable that can explain ingestive behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106031
StatePublished - Jul 1 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIDDK&NIDA), the Department of Veterans Affairs ( ASL , CMK) and the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Summer Research Experiences for Undergraduates-the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Faculty Sabbatical Leave Program (DJ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier Ltd


  • Feeding
  • Neuropeptide Y
  • Opioids
  • Orexin
  • Oxytocin
  • Plasticity

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Review
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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