Leptin, ob gene product, inhibits feeding behavior and stimulates energy expenditure in rodents. Corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) and neuropeptide Y (NPY), which act in the hypothalamus to influence energy homeostasis, may mediate the anorexic effect of leptin. The present studies were undertaken to examine the possible involvement of hypothalamic CRH in the anorexigenic action of leptin in male Wistar rats. Recombinant leptin (2 microg/rat), microinjected into the third ventricle, inhibited food intake at 2 h by 33.3% (P < 0.01) in rats that were deprived of food for 18 h. The intracerebroventricular injection of 2 microg leptin also increased hypothalamic CRH content (P < 0.05) at 2 h after its administration. Simultaneous intracerebroventricular administration of 5 microg/rat alpha-helical CRH 9-41 (alpha-hCRH), a CRH antagonist, with 2 microg/rat leptin attenuated the anorexic effect of leptin by 2 h. In contrast, single intracerebroventricular injection of alpha-hCRH did not affect food consumption in food-deprived rats. These results implicate hypothalamic CRH as an important mediator of the anorexic effect of leptin in food-deprived rats.

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