Phoenixin, a recently discovered 20-amino acid peptide was implicated in reproduction. However, the expression in food intake-regulatory nuclei such as the paraventricular nucleus, the arcuate nucleus and the nucleus of the solitary tract suggests an implication of phoenixin in food intake regulation. Therefore, we investigated the effects of phoenixin-14, the shorter form of phoenixin, on food intake following intracerebroventricular (icv) and intraperitoneal (ip) injection in ad libitum fed male Sprague-Dawley rats. Phoenixin-14 injected icv (0.2, 1.7 or 15nmol/rat) during the light phase induced a dose-dependent increase of light phase food intake reaching significance at a minimum dose of 1.7 nmol/rat (+72%, p<0.05 vs. vehicle) used for all further analyses. Assessment of the food intake microstructure showed an icv phoenixin-14-induced increase in meal size (+51%), meal duration (+157%), time spent in meals (+182%) and eating rate (+123%), while inter-meal intervals (-42%) and the satiety ratio (-64%) were decreased compared to vehicle (p<0.05). When injected icv during the dark phase, no modulation of food intake was observed (p>0.05). The light phase icv phoenixin-14-induced increase of water intake did not reach statistical significance compared to vehicle (+136%, p>0.05). The increase of food intake following icv phoenixin-14 was not associated with a significant alteration of grooming behavior (0.4-fold, p=0.377) or locomotion (6-fold, p=0.066) compared to vehicle. When injected ip at higher doses (0.6, 5nmol/kg or 45nmol/kg body weight) during the light phase, phoenixin-14 did not affect food intake (p>0.05). In summary, phoenixin-14 exerts a centrally-mediated orexigenic effect.
Keywords: Behavior; Brain-gut-axis; Food intake microstructure; Orexigenic; Water intake.
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