Brain-derived neurotrophic factor in the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus reduces energy intake

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Recent studies show that brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) decreases feeding and body weight after peripheral and ventricular administration. BDNF mRNA and protein, and its receptor tyrosine kinase B (TrkB) are widely distributed in the hypothalamus and other brain regions. However, there are few reports on specific brain sites of actions for BDNF. We evaluated the effect of BDNF in the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN) on feeding. BDNF injected unilaterally or bilaterally into the PVN of food-deprived and nondeprived rats significantly decreased feeding and body weight gain within the 0- to 24-h and 24- to 48-h postinjection intervals. Effective doses producing inhibition of feeding behavior did not establish a conditioned taste aversion. PVN BDNF significantly decreased PVN neuropeptide Y (NPY)-induced feeding at 1, 2, and 4 h following injection. BDNF administration in the PVN abolished food-restriction-induced NPY gene expression in the hypothalamic arcuate nucleus. In conclusion, BDNF in the PVN significantly decreases food intake and body weight gain, suggesting that the PVN is an important site of action for BDNF in its effects on energy metabolism. Furthermore, BDNF appears to interact with NPY in its anorectic actions, although a direct effect on NPY remains to be established.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R1003-R1012
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2007


  • Body weight
  • Food intake
  • Hypothalamus


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