Neuropeptide Y exerts profound effects on body weight and glucose homeostasis. We have investigated the effect of centrally administered neuropeptide Y on the activity of descending neurones of the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus by combining retrograde tract tracing with c-Fos immunocytochemistry. Male rats were injected with True Blue into the dorsal vagal complex and with FluoroGold into the intermediolateral column of the lower thoracic spinal cord. One week after the last surgical procedure, animals were injected centrally with an orexigenic dose of neuropeptide Y (5 microg) and sacrificed 60 to 240 minutes following this injection. Temporal analysis of NPY-induced c-Fos expression showed a peak at 90 minutes, which was nearly returned to basal levels between 120 and 240 minutes. Expression of c-Fos was prominent in several of the subnuclei of the paraventricular nucleus and in the adjacent perifornical nucleus. Neurones projecting to the spinal cord were prominent in the dorsal, lateral, and ventral portion of the medial parvicellular subnuclei of the PVN. About 15% of IML projecting neurones of the medial parvicellular subnucleus were Fos-positive, whereas less than 5% of IML projecting neurones from other subnuclei were Fos-positive. Hardly any PVN neurones projecting to the dorsal vagal complex were concomitantly Fos-positive. A considerably larger (>10%) proportion of perifornical neurones projecting to the nucleus of the solitary tract were c-Fos-immunopositive. In conclusion, NPY induces c-Fos in paraventricular neurones projecting to intermediolateral column of the spinal cord and in neurones of the perifornical nucleus projecting to the dorsal vagal complex.
Copyright 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.