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Peptides. 2001 Mar;22(3):515-22.

Neuropeptide-Y in the paraventricular nucleus increases ethanol self-administration.

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Department of Neurology, Gallo Research Center, University of California at San Francisco, 5858 Horton Street, Suite 200, Emeryville, CA 94608, USA.


The paraventricular nucleus (PVN) of the hypothalamus is known to modulate feeding, obesity, and ethanol intake. Neuropeptide-Y (NPY), which is released endogenously by neurons projecting from the arcuate nucleus to the PVN, is one of the most potent stimulants of feeding behavior known. The role of NPY in the PVN on ethanol self-administration is unknown. To address this issue, rats were trained to self-administer ethanol via a sucrose fading procedure and injector guide cannulae aimed at the PVN were surgically implanted. Microinjections of NPY and NPY antagonists in the PVN were conducted prior to ethanol self-administration sessions. All doses of NPY significantly increased ethanol self-administration and preference, and decreased water intake. The NPY antagonist D-NPY partially reduced ethanol self-administration and completely blocked the effects of an intermediate dose of NPY (10 fmol) on ethanol intake, preference, and water intake. The competitive non-peptide Y1 receptor antagonist BIBP 3226 did not significantly alter ethanol self-administration or water intake when administered alone in the PVN but it completely blocked the effect of NPY (10 fmol) on ethanol intake. NPY infused in the PVN had no effect on ethanol self-administration when tested in rats that did not have a long history of ethanol self-administration. The doses of NPY tested produced no effect on food intake or body weight measured during the 24-h period after infusion in either ethanol-experienced or ethanol-inexperienced rats. These results indicate that elevation of NPY levels in the PVN potently increases ethanol self-administration and that this effect is mediated through NPY Y1 receptors.

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