Neuromedin U (NMU) has been associated with the regulation of food-intake and energy balance in rats. The objective of this study was to identify the sites of gene expression for NMU and the NMU receptor-2 (NMU2R) in the mouse and rat hypothalamus and ascertain the effects of nutritional status on the expression of these genes. In situ hybridization studies revealed that NMU is expressed in several regions of the mouse hypothalamus associated with the regulation of energy balance. Analysis of NMU expression in the obese ob/ob mouse revealed that NMU mRNA levels were elevated in the dorsomedial hypothalamic (DMH) nucleus of obese ob/ob mice compared to lean litter-mates. In addition, NMU mRNA levels were elevated in the DMH of mice fasted for 24 h relative to ad libitum fed controls. The pattern of expression of NMU and NMU2R were more widespread in the hypothalamus of mice than rats. These data provide the first detailed anatomical analysis of the NMU and NMU2R expression in the mouse and advance our knowledge of expression in the rat. The data from the obese rodent models supports the hypothesis that NMU is involved in the regulation of nutritional status.