Involvement of neuropeptide Y in neuroendocrine stress responses. Central and peripheral studies
Neuropeptide Y (NPY) is closely associated to stress-reactive structures in the central and peripheral nervous system. In the periphery, the peptide is colocalized with catecholamines in postganglionic sympathetic fibres and the adrenal medulla. In the brain, the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus receives a dense innervation of NPYergic neurons, some of which also contain monoamines. With the use of a specific immunoradiometric assay, we have demonstrated that NPY is released into the peripheral circulation during psychological stress together with catecholamines. The postganglionic origin of the peptide was demonstrated by the activity of the nicotinic antagonist hexame-thonium to attenuate the response. Adrenalectomy or insulin-induced hypo-glycemia did not alter basal or stimulated NPY plasma levels, showing that the adrenal is not a major souce of circulating NPY in the rat. Although NPY and noradrenaline are frequently released in parallel in various experimental conditions, a clear dissociation can be found in several cases, such as cold stress or the response to phentolamine, where no change can be seen in plasma NPY despite a large activation of noradrenergic terminals. Furthermore, the neuropeptide may play a role in stress-induced pathological states such as hypertension, since its release is greater in animals previously submitted to chronic stress and high-sodium diet. On the other hand, its role in the central nervous system control mechanisms of the stress response is far from being clear, but to understand the interaction of NPY we need a better knowledge of the role of noradrenergic neurons in the central control of the adrenocortical axis or sympathetic nervous system activity.
KeywordsChronic Stress Paraventricular Nucleus Pancreatic Polypeptide Arcuate Nucleus Adrenal Medullary Cell
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