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Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2000 Jun;278(6):R1627-33.

NPY-leptin: opposing effects on appetitive and consummatory ingestive behavior and sexual behavior.

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Section of Applied Neuroendocrinology, Karolinska Institutet, Novum, S-141 57 Huddinge, Sweden.


Many studies have indicated that neuropeptide Y (NPY) stimulates and leptin inhibits food intake. In line with this, intracerebroventricular injection of NPY (10 microg) stimulated and leptin (10 microg) inhibited intake of a sucrose solution when female rats were required to obtain the solution from a bottle. However, NPY inhibited and leptin stimulated intake if the solution was infused intraorally. Thus NPY stimulates the responses used to obtain food but inhibits those used to consume food, and leptin has the opposite effects. To test the specificity of these responses the sexual behavior of male rats was examined. NPY-treated males showed minor deficits in sexual behavior but chose to ingest a sucrose solution rather than copulate with a female if offered the choice. By contrast, leptin-treated males ingested little sucrose and displayed an increase in ejaculatory frequency if given the same choice. It is suggested that NPY is not merely an orexigenic peptide, but one that directs attention toward food. Similarly, leptin may not be an anorexic peptide, but one that diverts attention away from food toward alternate stimuli.

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