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Peptides. 2008 Sep;29(9):1588-95. doi: 10.1016/j.peptides.2008.04.018. Epub 2008 May 4.

The relative impact of chronic food restriction and acute food deprivation on plasma hormone levels and hypothalamic neuropeptide expression.

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  • 1Department of Neuroscience, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.


Our understanding of the central regulation of food intake and body weight has increased tremendously through implication of a high number of neuropeptides. However, lack of all-embracing studies have made comparison difficult in the past. The objective of this study was to demonstrate the relative importance of the different neuropeptides in terms of involvement in appetite regulatory mechanisms. We quantified expression levels of 21 hypothalamic neuropeptides and circulating levels of leptin, insulin, corticosterone, adrenocorticotropic hormone, ghrelin and adiponectin in rats after acute food deprivation and chronic food restriction using validated quantitative real-time PCR and hormone measurements. Body weight, insulin and leptin were reduced whereas corticosterone was increased by both acute food deprivation and chronic food restriction. Our results confirmed the relative importance in body weight homeostasis of neuropeptide Y and proopiomelanocortin, which were increased and decreased as predicted. The expression of other neuropeptides previously attributed central roles in body weight homeostasis, e.g. melanin-concentrating hormone and orexin, appeared to be less affected by the treatments. Moreover, the expression of dynorphin, galanin-like peptide and neuropeptide B was dramatically reduced after both treatments. This suggests that the latter neuropeptides--although previously known to be involved in body weight homeostasis--may be of unexpected importance in states of negative energy balance.

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