Food deprivation and age modulate neuropeptide gene expression in the murine hypothalamus and adrenal gland

Streamson C. Chua, Rudolph L. Leibel, Jules Hirsch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

58 Scopus citations


We have developed a rapid and simple method for quantitative Northern blot analysis of rare messenger RNA species from single mouse hypothalami and adrenals. This technique has allowed us to study the effects of food deprivation on neuropeptide gene expression in the mouse hypothalamus and adrenal gland. The potential modulatory effects of sex and age were also investigated. Food deprivation induced a two-fold increase in the amount of hypothalamic neuropeptide Y (NPY) mRNA, but did not increase NPY mRNA in the brainstem. Age had a significant effect on levels of NPY messenger RNA levels in the hypothalamus. However, there were no gender-associated effects. Sexually immature females (6 weeks old) had higher levels of NPY expression than mature females (9 weeks old). In contrast, in the adrenal gland, increasing maturity was associated with higher levels of NPY mRNA. As in the hypothalamus, fasting caused approximately two-fold increases in NPY mRNA over levels in the ad libitum fed state for both mature and immature mice. Thus, hypothalamic NPY neurons are responsive to nutritional deprivation and developmental status, suggesting that NPY neurons may be important in energy homeostasis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-101
Number of pages7
JournalMolecular Brain Research
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1991
Externally publishedYes



  • Adrenal neuropeptide
  • Age
  • Fasting
  • Gender
  • Gene
  • Hypothalamus
  • Mouse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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