Neuromedin U partially mediates leptin-induced hypothalamo-pituitary adrenal (HPA) stimulation and has a physiological role in the regulation of the HPA axis in the rat.

Research paper by Preeti H PH Jethwa, Kirsty L KL Smith, Caroline J CJ Small, Caroline R CR Abbott, Sarah J SJ Darch, Kevin G KG Murphy, Asha A Seth, Nina M NM Semjonous, Sejal R SR Patel, Jeannie F JF Todd, Mohammad A MA Ghatei, Stephen R SR Bloom

Indexed on: 25 Mar '06Published on: 25 Mar '06Published in: Endocrinology


Intracerebroventricular (ICV) administration of the hypothalamic neuropeptide neuromedin U (NMU) or the adipostat hormone leptin increases plasma ACTH and corticosterone. The relationship between leptin and NMU in the regulation of the hypothalamo-pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis is currently unknown. In this study, leptin (1 nm) significantly increased the release of CRH from ex vivo hypothalamic explants by 207 +/- 8.4% (P < 0.05 vs. basal), an effect blocked by the administration of anti-NMU IgG. The ICV administration of leptin (10 mug, 0.625 nmol) increased plasma ACTH and corticosterone 20 min after injection [plasma ACTH (picograms per milliliter): vehicle, 63 +/- 20, leptin, 135 +/- 36, P < 0.05; plasma corticosterone (nanograms per milliliter): vehicle, 285 +/- 39, leptin, 452 +/- 44, P < 0.01]. These effects were partially attenuated by the prior administration of anti-NMU IgG. Peripheral leptin also stimulated ACTH release, an effect attenuated by prior ICV administration of anti-NMU IgG. We examined the diurnal pattern of hypothalamic NMU mRNA expression and peptide content, plasma leptin, and plasma corticosterone. The diurnal changes in hypothalamic NMU mRNA expression were positively correlated with hypothalamic NMU peptide content, plasma corticosterone, and plasma leptin. The ICV administration of anti-NMU IgG significantly attenuated the dark phase rise in corticosterone [corticosterone (nanograms per milliliter): vehicle, 493 +/- 38; NMU IgG, 342 +/- 47 (P < 0.05)]. These studies suggest that NMU may play a role in the regulation of the HPA axis and partially mediate leptin-induced HPA stimulation.