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Plast Reconstr Surg. 2009 Feb;123(2):486-92. doi: 10.1097/PRS.0b013e3181954c80.

The role of the neuropeptide Y2 receptor in liporemodeling: neuropeptide Y-mediated adipogenesis and adipose graft maintenance.

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Departments of Plastic Surgery, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, DC 20007, USA.



Neuropeptide Y is a signaling molecule that was recently found to stimulate adipose tissue growth in vitro by means of a peripherally acting mechanism involving the neuropeptide Y2 receptor found on adipocytes and endothelial cells. This study aims to evaluate the translational applications of a neuropeptide Y2 receptor agonist for autologous fat grafting in plastic surgery.


Murine and primate animal models were used to investigate the proliferative effects of neuropeptide Y on adipose tissue. The effect of applying neuropeptide Y to subcutaneous tissues in mice and monkeys was assessed by magnetic resonance imaging, histology, and immunohistochemistry. The effect of neuropeptide Y on human fat xenograft survival and vascularity in athymic mice was measured by ultrasonography and immunohistochemistry. Six animals per group were used in murine experiments, and two animals were used in the pilot primate study.


Neuropeptide Y stimulated growth of adipose tissues when applied subcutaneously in mice and monkeys, and increased human fat xenograft survival and vascularity in athymic mice at 3 months.


These data provide in vivo evidence for a critical role for neuropeptide Y/neuropeptide Y2 receptor interactions in adipogenesis, and suggest neuropeptide Y2 receptor as a potential target for agonist compounds that can be used to enhance fat graft survival or stimulate de novo adipogenesis.

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