Hypothalamic and vagal neuropeptide circuitries regulating food intake

Physiol Behav. Nov-Dec 2001;74(4-5):669-82. doi: 10.1016/s0031-9384(01)00611-4.


It has been recognized for some time that a number of different neuropeptides exert powerful effects on food intake. During the last few years, the neurocircuitry within which these peptides operate has also begun to be elucidated. Peptidergic feeding-regulatory neurones are found both in the hypothalamus and the brainstem, where they act as input stations for hormonal and gastrointestinal information, respectively. These cell populations both project to several other brain regions and interconnect extensively. The present review summarizes the neuroanatomy and connectivity of some prominent peptides involved in food intake control, including neuropeptide Y, melanocortin peptides, agouti gene-related protein, cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript, orexin/hypocretin, melanin-concentrating hormone and cholecystokinin. Disturbances in the hypothalamic neuropeptide systems have been implicated in the phenotype of a genetic model of fatal hypophagia, the mouse anorexia (anx) mutation, which is also discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Appetite / physiology
  • Brain Mapping
  • Brain Stem / physiology
  • Eating / physiology*
  • Hypothalamus / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Neuropeptides / physiology*
  • Vagus Nerve / physiology*


  • Neuropeptides