Effects of lifelong moderate caloric restriction on levels of neuropeptide Y, proopiomelanocortin, and Galanin mRNA

Teresa M. McShane, Melinda E. Wilson, Phyllis M. Wise

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


We are interested in how neuropeptides that regulate both food intake and reproductive function change with age and how life-prolonging moderate caloric restriction may influence the expression of these neuropeptides. We measured neuropeptide Y (NPY) and proopiomelanocortin (POMC) mRNA in the arcuate nucleus (AN), and galanin (GAL) mRNA in the AN, paraventricular nucleus (PVN) and medial septum-diagonal band of Broca in young, middle-aged and old female rats on a controlled feeding regimen. Female Sprague-Dawley rats (7 weeks old) were placed on caloric restriction (CR; n = 70) which was 60% of ad libitum (AL) intake measured in control rats (n = 70). Rats were rapidly decapitated 2.5 weeks following ovariectomy, when they were 4, 12, or 18 months old. Brains were frozen and coronal sections (12 microns) were cut at -20°C using a cryostat. Relative levels of NPY, POMC and GAL mRNA were measured using in situ hybridization histochemistry. cDNA clones complementary to rat NPY, mouse POMC and rat GAL were used to synthesize 35S- UTP-labeled cRNA probes. Slides were dipped in photographic emulsion. Silver grains were quantified using computer-assisted image analysis. Caloric restriction increased NPY mRNA/cell, decreased POMC mRNA/cell in the AN, and did not influence GAL mRNA/cell. Age and caloric restriction did not influence the number of cells with detectable NPY mRNA, POMC mRNA or GAL mRNA. Reproductive status at the time of decapitation influenced both the level and the number of cells expressing GAL mRNA in the PVN. In summary, CR differentially affects levels of NPY, POMC and GAL mRNA in the AN. In this animal model, there was no statistically significant effect of age nor any interaction between age and diet on expression of any of these genes between 4 and 18 months of age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)B14-B21
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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