Modulation of feeding by hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus α1- and α2-adrenergic receptors

Paul J. Wellman, Becky T. Davies, Annie Morien, Lance McMahon

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

108 Scopus citations


Noradrenergic receptor populations within the paraventricular hypothalamus (PVN) modulate feeding. Satiated rats exhibit enhanced feeding subsequent to activation of α2-adrenergic receptors within the PVN induced by exogenous infusion of either norepinephrine (NE) or clonidine (CLON). The feeding-stimulatory effect of α2-adrenergic agents presumably reflects an inhibitory action on receptors located on medial hypothalamic "satiety" cells. Adrenergic receptors of the α1-subclass have been identified within the PVN which are excitatory and which may function to suppress food intake. Microinjection into rat PVN of various α1-adrenergic agonists including cirazoline, methoxamine, phenylpropanolamine and phenylephrine suppress feeding; an effect that is reversed by pretreatment with α1-adrenergic receptor antagonists. The present review argues that α1- and α2-adrenoceptors within brain and specifically within the PVN are organized in an antagonistic fashion and that the effects of various adrenergic agonists on feeding may reflect the degree to which these agonists act at α1- and α2-adrenoceptors as well the relative balance of these receptors and their activity within the PVN.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)669-679
Number of pages11
JournalLife Sciences
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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