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Endocrinology. 2009 Jun;150(6):2668-73. doi: 10.1210/en.2008-1515. Epub 2009 Feb 5.

Chronic intracerebroventricular infusion of nociceptin/orphanin FQ produces body weight gain by affecting both feeding and energy metabolism in mice.

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  • 1Tsukuba Research Institute, Banyu Pharmaceutical Co Ltd, Tsukuba, Japan.


Nociceptin/orphanin FQ (N/OFQ), an endogenous ligand for opioid receptor-like 1 (ORL1), is involved in various central functions, such as pain, psychological stress, locomotor activity, learning and memory, and feeding regulation. Of these functions, the role of N/OFQ in the regulation of feeding has been suggested by the fact that the central administration of N/OFQ leads to feeding behavior. However, the manner in which N/OFQ influences body weight control and subsequent obesity is unclear. To clarify the involvement of N/OFQ in the development of obesity, we evaluated the effects of intracerebroventricular infusion of N/OFQ on food intake and body weight in C57BL/6J mice that were fed a regular chow diet or moderately high-fat (MHF) diet (32.6% kcal fat). N/OFQ significantly increased food intake and body weight both in the regular diet- and MHF diet-fed mice, and these changes were more apparent in the MHF diet-fed mice. When we performed a pair-feeding study in N/OFQ intracerebroventricularly infused mice, N/OFQ did not cause body weight gain but increased white adipose tissue weight and plasma leptin, insulin, and cholesterol levels. N/OFQ reduced rectal temperature in pair-fed mice, in keeping with decreased UCP1 mRNA expression in brown adipose tissue. These results suggest that N/OFQ contributes to the development of obesity not only by inducing hyperphagia but also by decreasing energy expenditure.

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