Food and Behaviour Research

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Amygdala NPY Circuits Promote the Development of Accelerated Obesity under Chronic Stress Conditions

Ip CK, Zhang L, Farzi A, Qi Y, Clarke I, Reed F, Shi YC, Enriquez R, Dayas C, Graham B, Begg D, BrĂ¼ning JC, Lee NJ, Hernandez-Sanchez D, Gopalasingam G, Koller J, Tasan R, Sperk G, Herzog H (2019) Cell Metab.  2019 Apr 25.  pii: S1550-4131(19)30185-8. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2019.04.001. [Epub ahead of print] 

Web URL: Read this and related abstracts on PubMed here


Neuropeptide Y (NPY) exerts a powerful orexigenic effect in the hypothalamus. However, extra-hypothalamic nuclei also produce NPY, but its influence on energy homeostasis is unclear.

Here we uncover a previously unknown feeding stimulatory pathway that is activated 
underconditions of stress in combination with calorie-dense food; NPY neurons in the central amygdala are responsible for an exacerbated response to a combined stress and high-fat-diet intervention. Central amygdala NPY neuron-specific Npy overexpression mimics the obese phenotype seen in a combined stress and high-fat-diet model, which is prevented by the selective ablation of Npy. Using food intake and energy expenditure as readouts, we demonstrate that selective activation of central amygdala NPY neurons results in increased food intake and decreased energy expenditure.

Mechanistically, it is the diminished insulin signaling capacity on central 
amygdala NPY neurons undercombined stress and high-fat-diet conditions that leads to the exaggerated development of obesity.


See the associated Psychology Today article: