Photoperiod regulates arcuate nucleus POMC, AGRP, and leptin receptor mRNA in Siberian hamster hypothalamus

Julian Mercer, Kim-Marie Moar, Alexander Ross, Nigel Hoggard, Peter John Morgan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

149 Citations (Scopus)


Siberian hamsters decreased body weight by 30% during 18 wk in short day (SD) vs. long day (LD) controls. Subsequent imposed food deprivation (FD; 24 h) caused a further 10% decrease. In the hypothalamic arcuate nucleus (ARC), SDs reduced proopiomelanocortin (POMC) gene expression and agouti-related protein (AGRP) mRNA was elevated, changes that summate to reduced catabolic drive through the melanocortin receptors. There was no effect of photoperiod on neuropeptide Y (NPY), melanin concentrating hormone, orexin, or corticotropin-releasing factor mRNAs. Superimposed FD increased AGRP gene expression and caused a localized elevation of NPY mRNA in the ARC. Both adipose tissue leptin and ARC leptin receptor (OB-Rb) mRNAs were downregulated in SDs, whereas FD increased OB-Rb gene expression. Thus OB-Rb mRNA is differentially regulated by acute and chronic changes in plasma leptin in this species. In a separate experiment in LDs, AGRP gene expression was increased by 24 or 48 h FD, whereas POMC mRNA was downregulated in the caudal ARC. AGRP and NPY mRNAs were extensively coexpressed in the ARC, and their differential regulation by photoperiod and FD is suggestive of transcript-specific regulation at the level of individual neurons.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)R271-81
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology-Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2000


  • Adipose Tissue
  • Agouti-Related Protein
  • Animals
  • Arcuate Nucleus
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Cricetinae
  • Down-Regulation
  • Eating
  • Food Deprivation
  • Gene Expression
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Male
  • Neuropeptide Y
  • Phodopus
  • Photoperiod
  • Pro-Opiomelanocortin
  • Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Receptors, Leptin
  • Time Factors
  • Tissue Distribution
  • Orexins
  • Melanin-Concentrating Hormone


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