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Brain Res. 2013 Jun 4;1513:34-40. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2013.03.036. Epub 2013 Mar 30.

Orexin in the chicken hypothalamus: immunocytochemical localisation and comparison of mRNA concentrations during the day and night, and after chronic food restriction.

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  • 1Department of Structures, Functions and Biological Technologies, University of Naples FedericoII, via Delpino1, I-80137 Naples, Italy.


In mammals Orexin-A and -B are neuropeptides involved in the hypothalamic regulation of diverse physiological functions including food intake and the sleep-wake cycle. This generalisation was investigated in meat-(broiler) and layer-type juvenile domestic chickens by immunocytochemical localisation of orexin A/B in the hypothalamus, and by measurements of hypothalamic hypocretin mRNA which encodes for orexin A/B after chronic food restriction, and during the sleep-wake cycle. Orexin immunoreactive fibres were observed throughout the hypothalamus with cell bodies in and around the paraventricular nucleus. No differences were observed in the pattern of immunoreactivity using anti- human orexin-A, or -B antisera. The amount of hypothalamic hypocretin mRNA in food -restricted broilers was higher than in broilers fed ad libitum, but the same as in layer- type hens fed ad libitum. Hypothalamic hypocretin mRNA was increased (P<0.01) in 12-week-old broilers fed 25% of their ad libitum intake between 6-12 weeks of age. No difference in hypothalamic hypocretin mRNA was seen in 12-week-old layer- type hens when they were awake (1-2h after lights on) or sleeping (1-2h after lights off). It is concluded that in the chicken, we could not find evidence that hypothalamic orexin plays a role in the sleep-wake cycle and it may be involved in aspects of energy balance.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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