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Orexigen-sensitive NPY/AgRP pacemaker neurons in the hypothalamic arcuate nucleus


The hypothalamic arcuate nucleus (ARC) integrates and responds to satiety and hunger signals and forms the origins of the central neural response to perturbations in energy balance. Here we show that rat ARC neurons containing neuropeptide Y (NPY) and agouti-related protein (AgRP), which are conditional pacemakers, are activated by orexigens and inhibited by the anorexigen leptin. We propose a neuron-specific signaling mechanism through which central and peripheral signals engage the central neural anabolic drive.

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Figure 1: Orexigen-sensitive pacemaker activity in ARC NPY/AgRP neurons.
Figure 2: Mechanisms underlying leptin-induced inhibition of and orexigen-induced activation of ARC pacemaker cells.


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Financial support from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the Foundation for Prader-Willi Research and British Heart Foundation (BHF) is gratefully acknowledged.

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Correspondence to David Spanswick.

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van den Top, M., Lee, K., Whyment, A. et al. Orexigen-sensitive NPY/AgRP pacemaker neurons in the hypothalamic arcuate nucleus. Nat Neurosci 7, 493–494 (2004).

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