Effects of hindbrain melanin-concentrating hormone and neuropeptide Y administration on licking for water, saccharin, and sucrose solutions

Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2008 Feb;294(2):R329-43. doi: 10.1152/ajpregu.00611.2006. Epub 2007 Nov 7.


Melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH) and neuropeptide Y (NPY) are orexigenic peptides found in hypothalamic neurons that project throughout the forebrain and hindbrain. The effects of fourth ventricle (4V) infusions of NPY (5 microg) and MCH (5 microg) on licking for water, 4 mM saccharin, and sucrose (0.1 and 1.0 M) solutions were compared to identify the contributions of each peptide to hindbrain-stimulated feeding. NPY increased mean meal size only for the sucrose solutions, suggesting that caloric feedback or taste quality is pertinent to the orexigenic effect; MCH infusions under identical testing conditions failed to produce increases for any tastant. A second experiment also observed no intake or licking effects after MCH doses up to 15 microg, supporting the conclusion that MCH-induced orexigenic responses require forebrain stimulation. A third experiment compared the 4V NPY results with those obtained after NPY infusions (5 microg) into the third ventricle (3V). In contrast to the effects observed after the 3V NPY injections and previously reported forebrain intracerebroventricular (ICV) NPY infusion studies, 4V NPY failed to increase meal frequency for any taste solution or ingestion rate in the early phases of the sucrose meals. Overall, 4V NPY responses were limited to intrameal behavioral processes, whereas forebrain ICV NPY stimulation elicited both consummatory and appetitive responses. The dissociation between MCH and NPY effects observed for 4V injections is consistent with reports that forebrain ICV injections of MCH and NPY produced nearly dichotomous effects on the pattern of licking microstructure, and, collectively, the results indicate that the two peptides have separate sites of feeding action in the brain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drinking / drug effects
  • Drinking / physiology
  • Drinking Behavior / drug effects
  • Drinking Behavior / physiology*
  • Eating / drug effects
  • Eating / physiology
  • Feeding Behavior / drug effects
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology*
  • Hypothalamic Hormones / metabolism*
  • Hypothalamic Hormones / pharmacology
  • Male
  • Melanins / metabolism*
  • Melanins / pharmacology
  • Neuropeptide Y / metabolism*
  • Neuropeptide Y / pharmacology
  • Pituitary Hormones / metabolism*
  • Pituitary Hormones / pharmacology
  • Prosencephalon / drug effects
  • Prosencephalon / physiology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Rhombencephalon / drug effects
  • Rhombencephalon / physiology*
  • Saccharin / pharmacology
  • Sucrose / pharmacology
  • Taste
  • Water / pharmacology


  • Hypothalamic Hormones
  • Melanins
  • Neuropeptide Y
  • Pituitary Hormones
  • Water
  • Sucrose
  • melanin-concentrating hormone
  • Saccharin