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Elife. 2019 Apr 29;8. pii: e46348. doi: 10.7554/eLife.46348.

Sustained NPY signaling enables AgRP neurons to drive feeding.

Author information

1
Kavli Institute for Fundamental Neuroscience, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, United States.
2
Neuroscience Graduate Program, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, United States.
3
Department of Physiology, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, United States.
4
Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, United States.
#
Contributed equally

Abstract

Artificial stimulation of Agouti-Related Peptide (AgRP) neurons promotes intense food consumption, yet paradoxically during natural behavior these cells are inhibited before feeding begins. Previously, to reconcile these observations, we showed that brief stimulation of AgRP neurons can generate hunger that persists for tens of minutes, but the mechanisms underlying this sustained hunger drive remain unknown (Chen et al., 2016). Here we show that Neuropeptide Y (NPY) is uniquely required for the long-lasting effects of AgRP neurons on feeding behavior. We blocked the ability of AgRP neurons to signal through AgRP, NPY, or GABA, and then stimulated these cells using a paradigm that mimics their natural regulation. Deletion of NPY, but not AgRP or GABA, abolished optically-stimulated feeding, and this was rescued by NPY re-expression selectively in AgRP neurons. These findings reveal a unique role for NPY in sustaining hunger in the interval between food discovery and consumption.

KEYWORDS:

feeding; homeostasis; hunger; hypothalamus; mouse; neural circuit; neuropeptide; neuroscience

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