Neuropeptide Y (NPY) produced in the arcuate nucleus (ARC) of the hypothalamus stimulates feeding both directly by activating NPY receptors and indirectly through release of the orexigenic peptides, galanin and beta-endorphin (beta-END), in the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) and surrounding neural sites. Orexin A and orexin B, produced outside the ARC in the lateral hypothalamic area (LH), have recently been shown to stimulate feeding. In the present studies we tested the hypothesis that NPYergic signaling may mediate feeding stimulated by orexins. In adult male rats injected intracerebroventricularly (i.c.v.) with orexin A (3, 10, 15 nmol) or orexin B (3, 10, 30 nmol) feeding was stimulated in a dose-dependent manner; maximal feeding was seen after 15 nmol orexin A and 30 nmol orexin B. To determine whether NPY may mediate this orexin stimulated feeding, we used 1229U91, a selective NPY Y1 receptor antagonist (NPY-A). Whereas NPY-A on its own was ineffective, it suppressed NPY-induced feeding. Furthermore, NPY-A completely blocked the feeding evoked by either orexin A (15 nmol) or orexin B (30 nmol). These results show that orexin A and B stimulate feeding and further suggest that these excitatory effects may be mediated by NPYergic signaling through Y1 receptors. These findings are in accord with the view that the orexin-NPY pathway may comprise a functional link upstream from NPY within the hypothalamic appetite regulating network.