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Neuropeptides. 2004 Aug;38(4):175-88.

Distribution of NPY receptors in the hypothalamus.

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  • 1Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm 17177, Sweden.


Neuropeptide Y (NPY) neurons abundantly innervate the hypothalamus, where NPY is involved in the regulation and integration of a broad range of homeostatic functions. In order to understand NPY-mediated behavioral, autonomic and neuroendocrine effects, it is important to characterize in detail the distribution of the hypothalamic NPY receptors. In this review, we briefly summarize the origin of NPY and its two related peptides, peptide YY and pancreatic polypeptide in the hypothalamus. Moreover, based on the results obtained with histological techniques such as in situ hybridization, immunohistochemistry and ligand binding, we summarize data on the hypothalamic distribution of the known NPY receptors, the Y1 Y2, Y4 and Y5 receptors as best characterized to date. These NPY receptors are found with individual distribution patterns in many hypothalamic neurons including neuroendocrine motoneurons, magnocellular neurosecretory neurons and numerous neurons connecting the hypothalamus with the limbic and the autonomic nervous systems. The histochemical analyses allow characterization of coexisting molecules and in this way definition of the neurochemistry of NPY circuitries. By showing coexistence of various NPY receptors they provide a morphological basis for in vitro studies showing heterodimerization of NPY receptors. The NPY neurons and their circuitries underlie the integrative role of NPY as a pleiotropic neuropeptide in the regulation of homeostasis.

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