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Brain Res. 1993 Dec 17;631(1):97-106.

Neuropeptide Y projection from arcuate nucleus to parvocellular division of paraventricular nucleus: specific relation to the ingestion of carbohydrate.

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  • 1Rockefeller University, New York, NY 10021.


Neuropeptide Y (NPY) injection into the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN) stimulates feeding behavior and specifically carbohydrate intake in rats. The present study investigated the relation between endogenous levels of NPY and natural ingestion for carbohydrate. It also examined the possible importance of a specific NPY projection in this relationship, which traverses from cell bodies in the arcuate nucleus (ARC) to terminals in the parvocellular division of the PVN (pPVN). Sprague-Dawley rats were given pure macronutrient diets (carbohydrate, protein and fat), and their daily nutrient intake was recorded for 3 weeks. The rats were sacrificed, and 8 hypothalamic nuclei were micropunched and examined via RIA for endogenous NPY levels. The results demonstrate a strong, positive correlation between daily carbohydrate intake and hypothalamic NPY levels. The relationship was specific to the pPVN (r = +0.71; P < 0.001), ARC (r = +0.57; P < 0.001) and dorsomedial nucleus (DMN, r = +0.52; P < 0.01), and was not observed in any other hypothalamic area, including the magnocellular division of the PVN. In the pPVN, the NPY levels of animals that consumed > 50 kcal of carbohydrate (49 pg/microgram protein) were almost twice that of animals that consumed < 20 kcal of carbohydrate (28 pg/microgram protein: P < 0.01). Furthermore, NPY levels in the ARC were positively correlated with NPY in the pPVN and DMN but not any other nuclei. No relation between hypothalamic NPY and measures of protein or fat ingestion was detected. Levels of NPY were also unrelated to total caloric intake, to body weight at sacrifice, and to body weight gain during the 3-week measurement period. These results, together with other findings, provide support for a role of endogenous NPY and its projection from the ARC to the pPVN, perhaps via the DMN, in controlling natural appetite for carbohydrate.

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