Expression of neuropeptide Y (Npy) heteronuclear (hn) RNA, an indicator of gene transcription, was significantly increased in the arcuate nucleus of rats 30 min after insulin injection. Npy hnRNA levels were also increased significantly in response to hypoglycemia in rats in which the hypothalamus was deafferentated, although the absolute levels were significantly lower than in sham-operated rats. Direct effects of lowering glucose levels on Npy gene expression were also confirmed in hypothalamic organotypic cultures. Thus, Npy gene transcription in the arcuate nucleus increases rapidly in response to hypoglycemia, and both direct and indirect inputs are involved in the rapid upregulation.
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