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J Neuroendocrinol. 2010 Feb;22(2):75-82. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2826.2009.01946.x. Epub 2009 Dec 15.

Nociceptin/orphanin FQ peptide in hypothalamic neurones associated with the control of feeding behaviour.

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Department of Neuroscience, The Retzius Laboratory, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.


Nociceptin/orphanin FQ (N/OFQ), an endogenous peptide agonist of the opioid N/OFQ receptor, has been implicated in the regulation of energy balance. In the present study, we have used immunohistochemistry to investigate the cellular localisation and colocalisation of N/OFQ-immunoreactive cell bodies in hypothalamic regions containing neurones producing orexigenic or anorexigenic transmitters. In colchicine-treated rats, N/OFQ immunoreactivity was demonstrated in many cell bodies of the arcuate nucleus (Arc), paraventricular nucleus (PVN) and lateral hypothalamic area (LHA). Double-labelling revealed that N/OFQ was present in some neurones located in the ventrolateral part of the Arc producing pro-opiomelanocortin, as shown by the presence of the anorexigenic peptides alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (alpha-MSH) and cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript and, occasionally, in single neurones of the ventrolateral Arc producing orexigenic agouti-related peptide, but not neuropeptide Y. N/OFQ immunoreactivity was also demonstrated in a few tyrosine hydroxylase- or dynorphin (DYN)-containing neurones in the dorsomedial part of the Arc. In the parvocellular PVN, N/OFQ was demonstrated in some thyrotrophin-releasing hormone- or DYN-, but not corticotrophin-releasing hormone-containing neurones. Most N/OFQ-immunoreactive neurones in the LHA contained orexin- and DYN, but not melanin-concentrating hormone. The results obtained, demonstrating the presence of N/OFQ in some alpha-MSH- and in many orexin-containing neurones, suggest a functional relationship between these neuropeptides and N/OFQ in the control of feeding behaviour and body weight.

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