Blockade of the NPY Y5 receptor potentiates circadian responses to light: complementary in vivo and in vitro studies

Eur J Neurosci. 2004 Feb;19(4):891-7. doi: 10.1111/j.0953-816x.2004.03098.x.


Neuropeptide Y (NPY) is delivered to the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN) circadian pacemaker via an input from the thalamic intergeniculate leaflet. NPY can inhibit light-induced responses of the circadian system of Syrian hamsters. Here we studied whether an antagonist to NPY receptors can be used to potentiate photic phase shifts late in the subjective night. First we determined by in situ hybridization that both NPY Y1 and Y5 receptor mRNA are expressed in the SCN of Syrian hamsters. Second, similar to our previous findings at Zeitgeber time 14 (ZT 14, where ZT 12 was the time of lights off), we found that NPY applied at ZT 18.5 onto the SCN region of brain slices maintained in vitro could block NMDA-induced phase advances of the spontaneous firing rate rhythm, and this blocking effect was probably mediated by the Y5 receptor, since co-application of Y5 receptor antagonists completely reversed the effect of NPY, while application of a Y1 receptor antagonist had no effect under the same conditions. Third, we found that co-treatment with a Y5 receptor antagonist in vivo (s.c., 10 mg/kg) not only reversed the effect of NPY applied to the SCN in vivo through a cannula but also significantly potentiated the light-induced phase advance in the absence of NPY. This is the first report of a NPY receptor antagonist having such an effect, and indicates that NPY Y5 receptor antagonists could be clinically useful for potentiating circadian system responses to light.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Circadian Rhythm / drug effects
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology*
  • Cricetinae
  • Lighting*
  • Male
  • Mesocricetus
  • N-Methylaspartate / pharmacology
  • Neuropeptide Y / pharmacology
  • Receptors, Neuropeptide Y / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Receptors, Neuropeptide Y / metabolism
  • Suprachiasmatic Nucleus / drug effects
  • Suprachiasmatic Nucleus / metabolism


  • Neuropeptide Y
  • Receptors, Neuropeptide Y
  • neuropeptide Y5 receptor
  • N-Methylaspartate