Differential regulation of hypothalamic neuropeptide Y hnRNA and mRNA during psychological stress and insulin-induced hypoglycemia
Many signals reflecting energy balance and stress are integrated at the hypothalamic orexigenic NPY neurons. To determine transcriptional changes of the NPY gene in response to stress, we followed the time course and compared the expression of heteronuclear (hn)- and messenger (m)RNA levels by in situ hybridization histochemistry and by real time PCR in mice following insulin-induced hypoglycemia and restraint. Hypoglycemia in fasted mice resulted in a rapid increase of NPY hnRNA that peaked at 1h, declined thereafter by 2-4h after insulin injection and run parallel to that of NPY mRNA. Throughout the time course examined, NPY expressing cells in the medial basal hypothalamus remained overwhelmingly localized to the arcuate nucleus. Following restraint NPY mRNA slightly increased, however hnRNA levels decreased up to 2h, suggesting increased stability of mature NPY mRNA. These results highlight rapid changes and differential regulation of NPY expression in response to metabolic and stress challenges.