Effect of a high-fat diet on food intake and hypothalamic neuropeptide gene expression in streptozotocin diabetes

J Clin Invest. 1998 Jul 15;102(2):340-6. doi: 10.1172/JCI603.


Insulin-deficient diabetic rats are markedly hyperphagic when fed a high-carbohydrate (HC) diet, but normophagic when fed a high-fat (HF) diet. When maintained on a HC diet, diabetic rats also exhibit increased gene expression of the orexigenic peptide neuropeptide Y (NPY) in the hypothalamic arcuate nucleus, and reduced expression of the anorectic peptide corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) in the paraventricular nucleus, and these changes are hypothesized to contribute to diabetic hyperphagia. In this experiment we assessed whether the normophagia displayed by HF-fed diabetic rats is associated with the opposite profile of NPY and CRH expression. Our results show that relative to diabetic rats on the HC diet, the diabetic rats on the HF diet exhibited significantly reduced caloric intake (-40%), NPY expression in the arcuate nucleus (-27%), and elevated CRH expression in the paraventricular nucleus (+37%). Insulin and corticosterone, which are known to affect hypothalamic NPY and CRH expression, were not different between these two groups, making it unlikely that they can account for the differences in either feeding behavior or hypothalamic peptide expression. There was a small but significant increase in plasma leptin levels in the diabetic animals maintained on the HF, and large differences in parameters associated with elevated fat oxidation. These observations support the hypothesis that the normalization of food intake observed in diabetic rats consuming a HF diet may in part be mediated by reductions in NPY expression and elevations in CRH expression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Body Weight
  • Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone / biosynthesis*
  • Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone / genetics
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / chemically induced
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / metabolism*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / pathology
  • Dietary Fats / metabolism*
  • Eating
  • Fatty Acids / blood
  • Gene Expression
  • Hypothalamus / metabolism*
  • Hypothalamus / pathology
  • Insulin / blood
  • Leptin
  • Male
  • Neuropeptide Y / biosynthesis*
  • Neuropeptide Y / genetics
  • Proteins / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Streptozocin / administration & dosage


  • Blood Glucose
  • Dietary Fats
  • Fatty Acids
  • Insulin
  • Leptin
  • Neuropeptide Y
  • Proteins
  • Streptozocin
  • Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone