Feeding in response to glucoprivation induced by 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG) is impaired in genetically obese (Zucker) rats. Muscimol, a GABAA-agonist (0.5 nmol/0.5 microliter in each area) increased food intake in lean rats over 3 h but in fatty rats only at 30 min after infusion into the VMH. Injection of muscimol into the DMH and PVN increased feeding of both phenotypes. Picrotoxin, a non-competitive GABAA-antagonist (0.1 nmol/0.5 microliter) increased food intake after infusion into the LH of both phenotypes and decreased food intake over a 3 h period when infused into the VMH. DMH and PVN of fatty rats. In the lean littermates, picrotoxin was only effective in reducing food intake at 30 min after infusion into the VMH and PVN but not the DMH. The present results suggest that the fatty Zucker rat has a disturbance in the GABA-related regulatory mechanism of feeding behavior in the ventromedial hypothalamus, which may be responsible for the impaired response to glucoprivation found in these rats.