NPY and food intake: Discrepancies in the model

Stephen C. Woods, Dianne P. Figlewicz, Lisa Madden, Daniel Porte, Alfred J. Sipols, Randy J. Seeley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Citations (Scopus)


The evidence that NPY is an endogenous neurotransmitter that modulates both sides of the energy equation is clear and compelling. While agreeing with this (and indeed contributing to the growing literature supporting the concept), we have found that the interpretation of the increased food intake stimulated by intraventricular (ivt) NPY is more complex than first appears. We discuss evidence suggesting that NPY additionally (and presumably at other receptor populations in the brain) causes sensations that produce aversion or illness. Specifically, the ivt administration of NPY at doses that stimulate eating also cause the formation of a conditioned taste aversion and the animal engages in a form of pica behavior (kaolin consumption). It also suppresses an otherwise robust increase of sodium consumption. We discuss evidence suggesting that whereas NPY activates feeding behavior by stimulating the complex sequence of behaviors beginning with the seeking and finding of food and ending with food ingestion, NPY does not stimulate increased eating in the absence of the anticipatory preliminary behaviors. Finally, we briefly review evidence suggesting that whatever sensation is aroused by ivt NPY, it is not necessarily the same sensation that is aroused when animals are food-deprived. Hence, one must be cautious in interpreting NPY as solely an orexigen. Copyright (C) 1998 Elsevier Science B.V.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)403-408
Number of pages6
JournalRegulatory Peptides
Publication statusPublished - 25 Sept 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Appetitive behavior
  • Conditioned taste aversion
  • Consummatory behavior
  • Geophagia
  • Neuropeptide Y
  • Pica
  • Salt appetite

Field of Science*

  • 1.6 Biological sciences
  • 1.4 Chemical sciences
  • 3.1 Basic medicine

Publication Type*

  • 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database


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