Nutritional state influences Nociceptin/Orphanin FQ peptide receptor expression in the dorsal raphe nucleus

Magdalena J Przydzial, Alastair S Garfield, Daniel D Lam, Stephen P Moore, Mark L Evans, Lora K Heisler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Agonists of the nociceptin/orphanin FQ (N/OFQ) peptide (NOP) receptor stimulate food intake. Concordantly, neuroanatomical localization of NOP receptor mRNA has revealed it to be highly expressed in brain regions associated with the regulation of energy balance. However, the specific mechanisms and neurochemical pathways through which physiological N/OFQ influences appetite are not well understood. To investigate this, we examined nutritional state-associated changes in NOP receptor mRNA levels throughout the rostrocaudal extent of the rat brain using in situ hybridization histochemistry (ISHH) and quantitative densitometry analysis. We observed a significant downregulation of NOP receptor mRNA in the dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN) of fasted rats compared to free-feeding rats. In contrast, no difference in NOP receptor mRNA expression was observed in the supraoptic, parventricular, ventromedial, arcuate or dorsomedial nuclei of the hypothalamus, the red nucleus, the locus coeruleus or the hypoglossal nucleus in the fasted or fed state. These data suggest that the endogenous N/OFQ system is responsive to changes in energy balance and that NOP receptors specifically within the DRN may be physiologically relevant to N/OFQ's effects on appetite.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)313-7
Number of pages5
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jan 2010


  • Animals
  • Eating
  • Fasting
  • Hypothalamus
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Male
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Raphe Nuclei
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, Opioid

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