Expression of AgRP, NPY, POMC and CART in human fetal and adult hippocampus.
ABSTRACT The Agouti-Related Protein (AgRP), Neuropeptide Y (NPY), Proopiomelanocortin (POMC) and the Cocaine and Amphetamine-Regulated Transcript (CART) are four neuropeptides that play essential roles in the regulation of food intake and energy homeostasis in mammals. CART, POMC and NPY have also been suggested to play a role in the development of the hippocampus. We therefore employed quantitative real-time RT-PCR (qPCR) to analyze the expression levels of these genes in the fetal and adult human hippocampus to examine whether the four neuropeptides are differentially regulated in the hippocampus during development. CART (6.5-fold) and POMC (8.3-fold) mRNAs were significantly higher in the adult hippocampus. NPY on the other hand, was significantly reduced (2.1-fold) in the adult hippocampus, while AgRP mRNA was comparatively unchanged between fetal and adult hippocampus. In relative terms, CART mRNA was the highest and AgRP the lowest in both the fetal and adult hippocampus. CART, POMC and NPY are, therefore, differentially expressed in the human fetal and adult hippocampus and could play a role in its development or could be regulated by various stimuli involved in the development of this brain structure.