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NPY/AgRP Neurons Are Essential for Feeding in Adult Mice but Can Be Ablated in Neonates

Science  28 Oct 2005:
Vol. 310, Issue 5748, pp. 683-685
DOI: 10.1126/science.1115524

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Abstract

Hypothalamic neurons that express neuropeptide Y (NPY) and agouti-related protein (AgRP) are thought to be critical regulators of feeding behavior and body weight. To determine whether NPY/AgRP neurons are essential in mice, we targeted the human diphtheria toxin receptor to the Agrp locus, which allows temporally controlled ablation of NPY/AgRP neurons to occur after an injection of diphtheria toxin. Neonatal ablation of NPY/AgRP neurons had minimal effects on feeding, whereas their ablation in adults caused rapid starvation. These results suggest that network-based compensatory mechanisms can develop after the ablation of NPY/AgRP neurons in neonates but do not readily occur when these neurons become essential in adults.

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