Centrally Administered Neuropeptide S Activates Orexin-Containing Neurons in the Hypothalamus and Stimulates Feeding in Rats

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Neuropeptide S (NPS) is a newly identified transmitter that modulates arousal and anxiety. To determine potential neuronal targets for NPS, we studied the pattern of neuronal activation as indicated by the expression of Fos. Centrally administered NPS increased Foslike immunoreactivity (FLI) in the paraventricular, dorsomedial nuclei and lateral hypothalamic area (LHA) of the hypothalamus, the midline thalamic nuclei, and the amygdala, many parts of which are involved in the regulation of emotion, arousal, and feeding. In particular, we noted that Fos-immunoreactive (Fos-ir) levels were increased in orexin-expressing neurons in the LHA. W e then studied whether an icv injection of NPS increased food intake. The injection of NPS (1 nmol) significantly stimulated feeding at 2 h in rats, but there was no difference in food intake at 4 h or 24 h. These results suggest that arousal and feeding induced by NPS in the central nervous system may be related to the activation of orexin-expressing neurons.

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