The role of NPY in hypothalamic mediated food intake

Front Neuroendocrinol. 2011 Oct;32(4):398-415. doi: 10.1016/j.yfrne.2011.06.001. Epub 2011 Jun 25.


Neuropeptide Y (NPY) is a highly conserved neuropeptide with orexigenic actions in discrete hypothalamic nuclei that plays a role in regulating energy homeostasis. NPY signals via a family of high affinity receptors that mediate the widespread actions of NPY in all hypothalamic nuclei. These actions are also subject to tight, intricate regulation by numerous peripheral and central energy balance signals. The NPY system is embedded within a densely-redundant network designed to ensure stable energy homeostasis. This redundancy may underlie compensation for the loss of NPY or its receptors in germline knockouts, explaining why conventional knockouts of NPY or its receptors rarely yield a marked phenotypic change. We discuss insights into the hypothalamic role of NPY from studies of its physiological actions, responses to genetic manipulations and interactions with other energy balance signals. We conclude that numerous approaches must be employed to effectively study different aspects of NPY action.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Appetite Regulation / genetics*
  • Eating / genetics
  • Eating / physiology
  • Energy Metabolism / genetics
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology
  • Genetic Techniques
  • Humans
  • Hypothalamus / metabolism*
  • Models, Biological
  • Neuropeptide Y / genetics
  • Neuropeptide Y / metabolism
  • Neuropeptide Y / physiology*


  • Neuropeptide Y