Differential distribution and regulation of OX1 and OX2 orexin/hypocretin receptor messenger RNA in the brain upon fasting

Horm Behav. 2000 Jun;37(4):335-44. doi: 10.1006/hbeh.2000.1584.


To further understand the functions of the orexin/hypocretin system, we examined the expression and regulation of the orexin/hypocretin receptor (OX1R and OX2R) mRNA in the brain by using quantitative in situ hybridization. Expression of OX1R and OX2R mRNA exhibited distinct distribution patterns. Within the hypothalamus, expression for the OX1R mRNA was largely restricted in the ventromedial (VMH) and dorsomedial hypothalamic nuclei, while high levels of OX2R mRNA were contained in the paraventricular nucleus, VMH, and arcuate nucleus as well as in mammilary nuclei. In the amygdala, OX1R mRNA was expressed throughout the amygdaloid complex with robust labeling in the medial nucleus, while OX2R mRNA was only present in the posterior cortical nucleus of amygdala. High levels of OX2R mRNA were also observed in the ventral tegmental area. Moreover, both OX1R and OX2R mRNA were observed in the hippocampus, some thalamic nuclei, and subthalamic nuclei. Furthermore, we analyzed the effect of fasting on levels of OX1R and OX2R mRNA in the hypothalamic and amygdaloid subregions. After 20 h of fasting, levels of OX1R mRNA were significantly increased in the VMH and the medial division of amygdala. An initial decrease (14 h) and a subsequent increase (20 h) in OX1R mRNA levels after fasting were observed in the dorsomedial hypothalamic nucleus and lateral division of amygdala. Levels of OX2R mRNA were augmented in the arcuate nucleus, but remained unchanged in the dorsomedial hypothalamic nucleus, paraventricular hypothalamic nucleus, and amygdala following fasting. The time-dependent and region-specific regulatory patterns of OX1R and OX2R suggest that they may participate in distinct neural circuits under the condition of food deprivation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amygdala / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Brain Chemistry / physiology*
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Fasting / physiology*
  • Food Deprivation / physiology
  • Hypothalamus / metabolism
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Male
  • Orexin Receptors
  • RNA Probes
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • Receptors, Neuropeptide / biosynthesis*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • Hcrtr1 protein, rat
  • Orexin Receptors
  • RNA Probes
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • Receptors, Neuropeptide