Starvation after AgRP neuron ablation is independent of melanocortin signaling

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 Feb 19;105(7):2687-92. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0712062105. Epub 2008 Feb 13.


Ablation of inhibitory agouti-related protein (AgRP)-expressing neurons in the arcuate nucleus that also synthesize gamma-amino-butyric acid (GABA) and neuropeptide Y in adult mice leads to starvation within 1 week. The removal of inhibition from the AgRP neurons onto neighboring proopiomelanocortin neurons and their common postsynaptic neurons is predicted to stimulate melanocortin signaling, which is known to inhibit appetite. To examine the importance of uncontrolled melanocortin signaling in mediating starvation in this model, we ablated AgRP neurons in A(y)/a mice that have chronic blockade of the melanocortin signaling. The blockade of melanocortin signaling did not ameliorate the rate of starvation. On both WT and A(y)/a genetic backgrounds, there was a progressive decrease in meal frequency after AgRP neuron ablation. Surprisingly, intraoral feeding also was dramatically reduced after the ablation of AgRP neurons. These results indicate that both the appetitive and consummatory aspects of feeding become impaired in a melanocortin-independent manner after AgRP neuron ablation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Agouti-Related Protein / deficiency*
  • Agouti-Related Protein / genetics
  • Agouti-Related Protein / metabolism*
  • Animal Feed
  • Animals
  • Electrophysiology
  • Melanocortins / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction*


  • Agouti-Related Protein
  • Melanocortins