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Neuroreport. 2002 Mar 25;13(4):497-500.

Injection of alpha-MSH, but not beta-endorphin, into the PVN decreases POMC gene expression in the ARC.

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School of Psychology, University of Ulster, Jordanstown, UK.


beta-Endorphin (beta-END) and alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone (alpha-MSH), neuropeptides derived from proopiomelanocortin (POMC), have opposite effects on eating behavior. We injected rats with alpha-MSH (0.6 nmol) or beta-END (1 nmol) into the PVN (three times in a 26 h period). These doses of alpha-MSH and beta-END decreased and increased feeding respectively. Following alpha-MSH administration into the PVN, mRNA levels of POMC decreased by 17%, whereas there was no significant change in gene expression of either proDynorphin or proEnkephalin. PVN injection of beta-END failed to alter gene expression of POMC, proDynorphin or proEnkephalin. These data suggest that a feedback pathway exists between the PVN and ARC for alpha-MSH and POMC, but not for beta-END and POMC.

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