Alpha-cyano-4-hydroxycinnamic acid (4-CIN, 100-200 mg/kg b.wt.), which impairs glucose oxidation by inhibiting pyruvate transport across the mitochondrial membrane, stimulated feeding in rats following intraperitoneal injection without affecting blood glucose level. Like 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG), an inhibitor of glycolysis, 4-CIN probably acts mainly on the CNS through activation of alpha(2)-adrenergic receptors, because the feeding response to 4-CIN was eliminated by phentolamine or yohimbine. Unlike feeding elicited by 2-DG, 4-CIN-induced feeding was eliminated by total abdominal (but not hepatic branch) vagotomy. Since peripheral atropinization also blocked 4-CIN-induced feeding, activation of central parasympathetic neurons seems to be involved in 4-CIN-induced feeding. The feeding response to 4-CIN was diminished in rats fed a high-fat diet, probably because metabolic sensors sensing fatty acid oxidation counteract the feeding response to 4-CIN. The results suggest that inhibition of glucose oxidation by blocking pyruvate entry into mitochondria stimulates feeding in rats in particular when fed a high-carbohydrate diet.