Purpose of review
An overview of recent developments documenting the neuropeptide Y (NPY) family's role in energy metabolism. Specifically focusing on site-specific functions of NPY and increasing evidence of peptide YY (PYY) as a weight loss therapeutic.
Studying the NPY family in hypothalamic nuclei, other than the arcuate and paraventricular nuclei, is a recent shift in metabolic research. NPY overexpression in the dorsomedial hypothalamus increases food intake whereas its ablation in this area reduces hyperphagia and obesity. Similarly, NPY exerts orexigenic effects in the ventromedial nucleus. However, specific arcuate Y2 receptor ablation leads to positive energy balance, suggesting the NPY family demonstrates location-specific functions. Peripherally, dual blockade of cannabinoid and NPY pathways has synergistic effects on weight loss, as does combined administration of PYY3–36 and oxyntomodulin in reducing food intake, perhaps due to the recently discovered role of PYY in mediating intestinal Gpr119 activity and controlling glucose tolerance.
Conditional Y receptor knockout models have provided deeper insights on NPY's functions according to location. Further study of PYY appears vital, due to recent evidence of its role in intestinal motility, with exercise positively influencing PYY levels.