The effect of physical exercise on orexigenic and anorexigenic peptides and its role on long-term feeding control

Med Hypotheses. 2016 Aug:93:30-3. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2016.05.005. Epub 2016 May 11.


Over the past decades, life-styles changing have led to exacerbated food and caloric intake and a reduction in energy expenditure. Obesity, main outcome of these changes, increases the risk for developing type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome, the leading cause of death in adult and middle age population. Body weight and energy homeostasis are maintained via complex interactions between orexigenic and anorexigenic neuropeptides that take place predominantly in the hypothalamus. Overeating may disrupt the mechanisms of feeding control, by decreasing the expression of proopiomelanocortin (POMC) and α-melanocyte stimulating hormone (α-MSH) and increasing orexigenic neuropeptide Y (NPY) and agouti-related peptide (AgRP), which leads to a disturbance in appetite control and energy balance. Studies have shown that regular physical exercise might decrease body-weight, food intake and improve the metabolic profile, however until the currently there is no consensus about its effects on the expression of orexigenic/anorexigenic neuropeptides expression. Therefore, we propose that the type and length of physical exercise affect POMC/αMSH and NPY/AgRP systems differently and plays an important role in feeding behavior. Moreover, based on the present reports, we hypothesize that increased POMC/αMSH overcome NPY/AgRP expression decreasing food intake in long term physical exercise and that results in amelioration of several conditions related to overweight and obesity.

Keywords: Food intake control; Metabolic diseases; Obesity; Physical exercise.

MeSH terms

  • Agouti-Related Protein / physiology
  • Animals
  • Appetite Regulation*
  • Body Weight
  • Eating
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Exercise*
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Humans
  • Hypothalamus / physiology*
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Neuropeptide Y / physiology
  • Neuropeptides / physiology*
  • Obesity
  • Overweight
  • Pro-Opiomelanocortin / physiology
  • alpha-MSH / physiology


  • Agouti-Related Protein
  • Neuropeptide Y
  • Neuropeptides
  • alpha-MSH
  • Pro-Opiomelanocortin