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J Neurosci. 2004 Oct 6;24(40):8741-51.

Neuropeptide Y inhibits hypocretin/orexin neurons by multiple presynaptic and postsynaptic mechanisms: tonic depression of the hypothalamic arousal system.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06520, USA.


Neurons that release neuropeptide Y (NPY) have important effects on hypothalamic homeostatic regulation, including energy homeostasis, and innervate hypocretin neurons. Using whole-cell patch-clamp recording, we explored NPY actions on hypocretin cells identified by selective green fluorescent protein expression in mouse hypothalamic slices. NPY reduced spike frequency and hyperpolarized the membrane potential of hypocretin neurons. The NPY hyperpolarizing action persisted in tetrodotoxin (TTX), was mimicked by Y1 receptor-selective agonists [Pro34]-NPY and [D-Arg25]-NPY, and was abolished by the Y1-specific antagonist BIBP3226 [(R)-N2-(diphenylacetyl)-N-[(4-hydroxyphenyl)methyl]-D-arginine-amide], consistent with a direct activation of postsynaptic Y1 receptors. NPY induced a current that was dependent on extracellular potassium, reversed near the potassium equilibrium potential, showed inward rectification, was blocked by extracellular barium, and was abolished by GDP-betaS in the recording pipette, consistent with a G-protein-activated inwardly rectifying K+ (GIRK) current. [Pro34]-NPY evoked, and BIBP3226 blocked, the activation of the GIRK-type current, indicating mediation by a Y1 receptor. NPY attenuated voltage-dependent calcium currents mainly via a Y1 receptor subtype. BIBP3226 increased spontaneous spike frequency, suggesting an ongoing Y1 receptor-mediated NPY inhibition. In TTX, miniature EPSCs were reduced in frequency but not amplitude by NPY, NPY13-36, and [D-Trp32]-NPY, but not by [Pro34]-NPY, suggesting the presynaptic inhibition was mediated by a Y2/Y5 receptor. NPY had little effect on GABA-mediated miniature IPSCs but depressed spontaneous IPSCs. Together, these data support the view that NPY reduces the activity of hypocretin neurons by multiple presynaptic and postsynaptic mechanisms and suggest NPY axons innervating hypocretin neurons may tonically attenuate hypocretin-regulated arousal.

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