Orexin neurons express a functional pancreatic polypeptide Y4 receptor

Rebecca E. Campbell, M. Susan Smith, Summer E. Allen, Bernadette E. Grayson, Jarlath M.H. Ffrench-Mullen, Kevin L. Grove

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


The receptor subtypes that mediate the effects of neuropeptide Y (NPY) on food intake have not been clearly defined. The NPY Y4 receptor has been identified recently as a potential mediator of the regulation of food intake. The purpose of the present study was to characterize the central site of action of the Y4 receptor using a combination of neuroanatomical and physiological approaches. Using immunocytochemistry, Y4-like immunoreactivity was found to be colocalized with orexin cell bodies in the lateral hypothalamic area (LHA) and orexin fibers throughout the brain. In situ hybridization confirmed the expression of Y4 mRNA in orexin neurons. To determine the functional interaction between Y4 receptors and orexin neurons, we examined the effects of rat pancreatic polypeptide (rPP), a Y4-selective ligand, or NPY, a nonselective ligand, administered directly into the LHA on the stimulation of food and water intake and c-Fos expression. Both rPP and NPY significantly increased food and water intake when they were administered into the LHA, although NPY was a more potent stimulator of food intake. Furthermore, both NPY and rPP significantly stimulated c-Fos expression in the LHA. However, whereas rPP stimulated c-Fos expression in orexin neurons, NPY did not. Neither rPP nor NPY stimulated c-Fos in melanin-concentrating hormone neurons, but both activated neurons of an unknown phenotype in the LHA. These results suggest that a functional Y4 receptor is expressed on orexin neurons and that these neurons are activated in response to a ligand with high affinity for the Y4 receptor (rPP). Although these data suggest a role for central Y4 receptors, the endogenous ligand for this receptor has yet to be clearly established.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1487-1497
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 15 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • C-Fos
  • Feeding
  • Neuropeptide Y
  • Orexin
  • Pancreatic polypeptide
  • Rat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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