Effect of neuropeptide Y on ingestive behaviors in the rat

J. E. Morley, A. S. Levine, B. A. Gosnell, J. Kneip, M. Grace

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Neuropeptide Y (NPY) is a potent stimulator of food and water intake in rats. NPY still increases food intake even after a 2-h delay in access to food after central injection. When two injections of NPY are given 2 h apart, the second injection produced a substantial increase in food intake. This suggests that tolerance to the NPY effect does not develop after a single injection of NPY. NPY increases moving and exploration in the absence of food when rats are in their home environment but not when tested in a novel environment. Following administration of NPY, rats preferred a high-carbohydrate diet over a high-fat or high-protein diet. Microinjections of NPY showed that active sites included the anterior ventromedial nucleus, paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus, and the posterior lateral hypothalamus. NPY was neither additive nor synergistic when coadministered with norepinephrine. Whereas norepinephrine-induced feeding was inhibited by adrenalectomy and vagotomy, these maneuevers had no effect on NPY-induced food intake. This provides further evidence that NPY does not exert its effects on food intake through an α-adrenergic mechanism. The effects of NPY on food intake were attenuated by peripherally administered bombesin and centrally administered corticotropin-releasing factor and calcitonin. Cholecystokinin failed to inhibit NPY-induced feeding. NPY did not alter circulating glucose levels. These studies provide further insights into the role of NPY as a stimulator of ingestive behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R599-R609
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number3 (21/3)
StatePublished - 1987


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