Central glucoprivation evoked by the intracerebroventricular administration of 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2DG) induces eating and suppresses growth hormone (GH) secretion in rats. To elucidate the hypothalamic mechanism of these phenomena, the induction of c-fos gene expression was examined by in situ hybridization using rats with centrally administered 2DG. Autoradiography on X-ray film showed that c-fos gene expression was transiently induced in discrete hypothalamic regions; namely the paraventricular nucleus, arcuate nucleus (ARC), the surrounding regions of the third ventricle dorsal to the ARC, and the periventricular nucleus (PeV). The time course of the expression was different in these nuclei. Double-label in situ hybridization for c-fos mRNA and neuropeptide Y (NPY) or somatostatin mRNAs revealed that 20% of the NPY neurons in the ARC expressed the c-fos gene, while a small population of somatostatin neurons (6.1% in the ARC and 2.6% in the PeV) expressed the c-fos gene following 2DG administration. Since NPY is an orexigenic neuropeptide and has an inhibitory effect on GH secretion, the data suggest that the activation of a subpopulation of NPY neurons in the ARC contributes, in part, to the increased food intake and suppression of GH secretion after central glucoprivation evoked by 2DG.