Orexins and adipoinsular axis function in the rat

Regul Pept. 2002 Mar 15;104(1-3):69-73. doi: 10.1016/s0167-0115(01)00350-0.


Orexin A and B are recently identified as peptides that are derived from the same precursor and their expression is highly specifically localized in neurons located in the lateral hypothalamic area, a region implicated in the feeding behaviour. These peptides appear to be a part of a complex circuit that integrates the aspects of energy metabolism, cardiovascular function, hormone homeostasis and sleep/wake behaviours. The functional linking of orexins with leptin and insulin suggests the possibility of its involvement in the regulation of the adipoinsular axis, and the present investigation was designed to examine the potential role of orexins in this axis regulation. In all the tested doses (8, 16 and 40 nmol/kg body weight (b.w.)), subcutaneous (s.c.) injections of orexin A caused the significant increase in insulin and leptin blood levels. These elevations were observed 60 and 120 min after peptide administration. On the other hand, after the orexin B administration, elevated insulin and leptin blood concentrations were found only at 60 min of the experiment, and in that time point, the increases were comparable to that evoked by orexin A. In comparison with the control animals, the administration of orexins for 7 days resulted in a significant gain in body weight. Prolonged administration of either orexin A or orexin B significantly elevated insulin and leptin blood concentrations. Under these conditions, the orexin A effect on the leptin secretion was more marked than on the insulin secretion, and this difference is reflected by the lowered insulin/leptin molar ratio. These results suggest that orexins play an important role in the adipoinsular axis function and may be a significant regulator of both insulin and leptin secretion. In this regard, we suggest the updated functional model of Kieffer and Habener [Am. J. Physiol.: Endocrinol. Metab. 27 (2000) E1] that proposed the adipoinsular axis. Our model is extended by the probable humoral links between orexins and leptin and orexins and insulin and points on the dependence of the effects evoked by orexins, leptin and insulin on the blood glucose levels.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipocytes / drug effects*
  • Adipocytes / metabolism
  • Adipocytes / physiology
  • Animals
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Carrier Proteins / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin / metabolism*
  • Insulin Secretion
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins*
  • Islets of Langerhans / drug effects*
  • Islets of Langerhans / metabolism
  • Islets of Langerhans / physiology
  • Leptin / blood
  • Leptin / metabolism*
  • Neuropeptides / pharmacology*
  • Orexins
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Insulin
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Leptin
  • Neuropeptides
  • Orexins