Neuropeptide Soup in the Arcuate Nucleus and Snakeunculus

During this afternoon’s poster sessions on neuroendocrine control, I encountered the following:

1. Neuroscientists have now localized Neuropeptide S: “Distribution of neuropeptide S immunoreactive neurons and their processes in the central nervous system of the rat” by G.Legradi et al. of University of South Florida. Neuropeptide S is reciprocally tied to G-coupled protein receptors and mediates calcium and cAMP second messenger concentrations. It has been localized in multiple areas of the hypothalamus, including the arcuate nucleus, the PVN, and VMPO, and the pons.

2. Neuroscience textbooks may soon contain a schematic of the snakeunculus; a somatosensory map of the garter snake. This research was presented by E. A Force et al. of Central Connecticut State University.

and the most fascinating poster pertinent to homeostatic and neuroendocrine control thus far goes to……

Jamila Newton et al. of UCSF who investigate the interactions of leptin, AgRP, and neuropeptide Y within the arcuate nucleus on age-related energy expenditure and adiposity (“Age-related changes in energy balance correlate with increases in hypothalamic agouti-related peptide/neuropeptide Y synaptic density.” Through measures of body weight, adiposity, food intake, and neuropeptide densities, Newton has discovered that the clustering of NPY and AgRP neurons into rings with aging (they reminded me of the neurofibrillary tau tangles associated with Alzheimer’s) are partially responsible for age-related declines in energy expenditure and subsequent increases in adiposity. She also utilized knock out mice and analyses of leptin to illustrate the complicated interactions of neuropeptides and precursors within the arcuate nucleus on energy expenditure and adiposity. Is this the next multi-million dollar weight loss drug?

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