A role of central NELL2 in the regulation of feeding behavior in rats

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Molecules and Cells








Feeding behavior; Hypothalamus; Metabolic state; NELL2; Neural plasticity


© The Korean Society for Molecular and Cellular Biology. All rights reserved. A brain-enriched secreting signal peptide, NELL2, has been suggested to play multiple roles in the development, survival, and activity of neurons in mammal. We investigated here a possible involvement of central NELL2 in regulating feeding behavior and metabolism. In situ hybridization and an immunohistochemical approach were used to determine expression of NELL2 as well as its colocalization with proopiomelanocortin (POMC) and neuropeptide Y (NPY) in the rat hypothalamus. To investigate the effect of NELL2 on feeding behavior, 2 nmole of antisense NELL2 oligodeoxynucleotide was administered into the lateral ventricle of adult male rat brains for 6 consecutive days, and changes in daily body weight, food, and water intake were monitored. Metabolic state-dependent NELL2 expression in the hypothalamus was tested in vivo using a fasting model. NELL2 was noticeably expressed in the hypothalamic nuclei controlling feeding behavior. Furthermore, all arcuatic POMC and NPY positive neurons produced NELL2. The NELL2 gene expression in the hypothalamus was up-regulated by fasting. However, NELL2 did not affect POMC and NPY gene expression in the hypothalamus. A blockade of NELL2 production in the hypothalamus led to a reduction in daily food intake, followed by a loss in body weight without a change in daily water intake in normal diet condition. NELL2 did not affect short-term hunger dependent appetite behavior. Our data suggests that hypothalamic NELL2 is associated with appetite behavior, and thus central NELL2 could be a new therapeutic target for obesity.

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