Hypothalamic hypocretin/orexin and neuropeptide Y: divergent interaction with energy depletion and leptin

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1999 Apr 29;258(1):119-22. doi: 10.1006/bbrc.1999.0605.


The aim of this study was to measure the effects of chronic leptin treatment on two orexigenic peptides present in the hypothalamus namely hypocretin/orexin and neuropeptide Y (NPY). For this purpose, recombinant murine leptin (0.2 mg/rat/day) or saline were injected intraperitoneally in Long-Evans rats for 7 consecutive days. Food intake (-8%; p < 0.002) and body weight gain (23.7 +/- 1 vs 31.5 +/- 1.3 g; p < 0.003) were significantly lower in leptin-treated rats than the saline-treated rats. NPY concentrations did not change significantly in any of the microdissected brain areas including the arcuate and paraventricular nuclei. Orexin A concentration in the lateral hypothalamus was significantly decreased by the leptin treatment (-68%; p < 0.01). A smaller decrease (-46%; p < 0.04) was also noted in saline-treated rats pairfed to the level of the leptin-treated rats. We conclude that orexin/hypocretin could be considered as a new relay for leptin in the central nervous system. Its variation in case of lower energy supply observed in pairfed rats could constitute an alerting system for the brain and therefore considered as the first step in the establishment of defense mechanisms against energy depletion.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism*
  • Feeding Behavior / drug effects
  • Hypothalamus / drug effects*
  • Hypothalamus / metabolism
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins*
  • Leptin
  • Male
  • Neuropeptide Y / metabolism*
  • Neuropeptides / metabolism*
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / metabolism*
  • Orexins
  • Proteins / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Long-Evans


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Leptin
  • Neuropeptide Y
  • Neuropeptides
  • Neurotransmitter Agents
  • Orexins
  • Proteins