The anorexigenic gastrointestinal hormone Peptide YY plays an important role in the communication between the gastrointestinal tract and the central nervous system. PYY has been shown to modulate brain activity in regions implicated in reward and food related behavior. Its effects on brain structure however, remain unknown. Voxel-based morphometry was used to investigate the relationship between fasting and postprandial plasma PYY concentrations and regional gray matter volume (GMV). For this analysis twenty adult, non diabetic Caucasians were included (18 F/2 M, age 31 ± 9 y, percentage of body fat [PFAT] 32 ± 8%) who had volumetric brain magnetic resonance images and underwent H215O positron emission tomographic (PET) measurements of regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF), a marker of local neuronal activity, and measurements of plasma total PYY, prior to (fasting) and following a satiating liquid meal. Voxel-wise analysis revealed a regional positive association between postprandial PYY and gray matter volume bilaterally in the caudate nuclei. These associations remained significant (p < 0.05) after small volume correction for multiple comparisons. Based on these findings we investigated whether postprandial PYY is associated with PET measured rCBF of the caudate nucleus. We found a significant negative association between average postprandial caudate rCBF and postprandial plasma PYY concentrations (r = − 0.60, p < 0.02, age, sex and PFAT adjusted). Average postprandial caudate rCBF was also negatively associated with rCBF in the right medial orbitofrontal cortex and the right hippocampal formation (p < 0.05, corrected for multiple comparisons). Total PYY is positively associated with gray matter but negatively with postprandial activity in the caudate nuclei while caudate activity is negatively associated with rCBF in prefrontal and paralimbic regions implicated in reward behavior. Thus, PYY may act centrally to modulate eating behavior via striatal networks.Highlights
□ Associations of physiologically released PYY with brain morphology and rCBF. □ Postprandial PYY is positively associated with caudate nuclei gray matter volume. □ Postprandial PYY is negatively associated with caudate nuclei rCBF. □ Caudate nuclei activity modulates prefrontal and limbic/paralimbic activity.