Adrenalectomy reduces neuropeptide Y-induced insulin release and NPY receptor expression in the rat ventromedial hypothalamus

J Clin Invest. 2000 May;105(9):1253-9. doi: 10.1172/JCI8695.


Chronic central administration of neuropeptide Y (NPY) causes hyperphagia, hyperinsulinemia, and obesity, a response that is prevented by prior adrenalectomy (ADX) in rats. The basis of NPY's effect and how the acute responses to this peptide are affected by ADX remain unknown. This study investigates the role of glucocorticoids in acute NPY-stimulated food intake, acute NPY-induced insulin release, and hypothalamic NPY-receptor mRNA expression levels. NPY-induced food intake was similar in ADX and control rats after acute intracerebroventricular injection of NPY. Injection of NPY caused a significant increase in plasma insulin in control rats, but this effect was completely absent in ADX rats in which basal plasma insulin levels were also lower than controls. In addition, ADX significantly reduced the number of neurons expressing NPY receptor Y(1) and Y(5) mRNAs in the ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH), without affecting Y(1)- or Y(5)-mRNA expression in the paraventricular hypothalamus or the arcuate nucleus. These data indicate that glucocorticoids are necessary for acute NPY-mediated insulin release and suggest that the mechanisms involve glucocorticoid regulation of Y(1) and Y(5) receptors specifically within the VMH nucleus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Glands / physiology*
  • Adrenalectomy
  • Animals
  • Eating / drug effects
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Injections, Intraventricular
  • Insulin / metabolism*
  • Insulin Secretion
  • Male
  • Neuropeptide Y / pharmacology*
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Receptors, Neuropeptide Y / biosynthesis*
  • Receptors, Neuropeptide Y / genetics
  • Ventromedial Hypothalamic Nucleus / physiology*


  • Insulin
  • Neuropeptide Y
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, Neuropeptide Y
  • neuropeptide Y-Y1 receptor
  • neuropeptide Y5 receptor