A growing body of evidence indicates that a number of peptides expressed in the mammalian hypothalamus are involved in the regulation of food intake and energy balance. Among these, melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH) and neuropeptide Y (NPY) are potent appetite stimulants, whereas alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (alpha-MSH), neurotensin, and glucagon-like peptide (GLP)-1(7-36) amide have appetite-suppressing properties. However, the functional interactions between pathways involving these neuropeptides remain incompletely understood. In the current study, we describe the functional interactions between orexigenic (appetite-stimulating: MCH and NPY) and anorectic (appetite-suppressing: alpha-MSH, neurotensin, and GLP-1) peptides after intracerebroventricular (i.c.v.) administration in the rat. The i.c.v. administration of GLP-1 completely prevents the orexigenic effects of both MCH and NPY. However, i.c.v. administration of alpha-MSH prevents only the orexigenic effect of MCH, as we have previously shown, but does not prevent the effect of NPY on food intake. Similarly, i.c.v. administration of neurotensin prevents only the orexigenic effect of MCH, but does not prevent the appetite-stimulating effect of NPY. Thus, our study suggests that the functional interactions between these neuropeptides are specific, although the underlying mechanisms are as yet unexplored.

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