NPY is synthesized in the hypothalamic arcuate nucleus (ARC), and NPY injected into the paraventricular nucleus (PVN), the main site of NPY release, induces hyperphagia and reduces energy expenditure. Hypothalamic NPY mRNA and NPY levels are increased in fatty Zucker rats, consistent with increased NPY release. This could explain the hyperphagia and reduced energy expenditure, which lead to obesity in the fatty Zucker rat. We have therefore compared NPY secretion in the PVN of conscious fatty and lean Zucker rats using push-pull sampling. The NPY secretory profile was consistently higher in fatty Zucker rats than in lean rats throughout the 3-h study period (P < 0.01), and mean NPY secretion over the whole 3 h was increased 2-fold in the fatty rats (P < 0.001). We conclude that fatty Zucker rats have increased NPY release in the PVN. This observation further supports the hypothesis that increased activity of the NPYergic ARC-PVN pathway may contribute to obesity in the fatty Zucker syndrome.