Neuropeptide Y (NPY) injected into the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) increases feeding and decreases brown adipose tissue (BAT) uncoupling protein (UCP) and lipoprotein lipase (LPL) mRNA. Previously we reported that the feeding and BAT effects induced by NPY in the PVN are blocked by 50 microg naltrexone (NTX) in the rostral nucleus of the solitary tract (rNTS). We sought to determine whether the effect of rNTS NTX on PVN NPY-induced alterations in energy metabolism occurred at lower doses of NTX. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were fitted with cannulas into two sites: PVN and rNTS. Feeding response, BAT UCP, and LPL mRNA were measured after injection of 0, 5, 10, and 25 microg NTX in the rNTS +/- 1 microg NPY in the PVN. One-hour feeding response to PVN NPY was significantly and dose dependently decreased by 10 and 25 microg rNTS NTX (-23 and -31%, respectively). However, rNTS NTX did not block the PVN NPY-induced decrease in BAT UCP or LPL mRNA. BAT beta-actin mRNA (as a measure of overall changes in gene expression) was unchanged among treatment groups. These results indicate a possible divergence in the PVN NPY feeding-stimulatory/BAT-inhibitory pathway, such that PVN NPY feeding effects may be routed through the rNTS whereas BAT effects may be due to alterations at another neural site.